Often, we talk about leadership not being easy, but what if becoming a better leader were easier than you think? Could it be made simple? As we approach Halloween this year, these tips are actually scary simple and yes, with very little effort, they will also significantly improve your leadership.
Get Out of the Office
Go for a walk. Get treats. Take a short drive. Change your scenery. Let the problems you’re currently facing percolate in the background of your brain for a bit, while you look at something different. When particularly prickly problems arise, an exercise outing also helps, but what makes your daily routine and challenges far more difficult is boredom and sitting in the same place staring at the same old problems. Get out. Go. Change it up. Leave the scene, but do remember to return.
It’s no secret that a leader with an internally low sense of self worth or confidence, will be a less than effective leader of others. Turn inward and lead you better. This means work on your confidence. Stop over thinking. Turn down the over personalizing of the behavior of others and focus. Focus on what you are, your gifts, your strengths and your talents. Then use them. An increased confidence improves leadership like candy corn improves your mood at Halloween.
In a civic organization or charity, leadership is needed. You’re not being paid nor usually being micromanaged, and you get to see an immediate impact of how well you lead a fundraiser or project. Help others and be a part of something bigger. The energy you gain from volunteering will change the way you look at the stressful events in your office.
A number of coaching clients recently have had epiphanies in the way they view themselves. Once thought to be more reserved and analytical, three leaders I’ve had the privilege to coach recently have realized they were far more charming and engaging than they thought was possible. They took off the costume and are now loving what they do, with passion and reinvigorated energy. Give yourself permission to be the person you are, taking off the costume of what you think the role requires. It is Halloween, but wearing a costume all day gets old…and hot… and sweaty and uncomfortable.
Offer trick or treating as a way of facilitating networking across floors or departments in your building. Let them decorate their open seating area, cubes, or offices. Encourage team members to be creative both in their holiday celebrating, approach to projects, and problem solving. Not every cookie cutter solution is the answer and not every person’s answer will seem to fit the mold at first. By the way, creativity is the old school term for innovation.
As you head into the Halloween holiday, use it as a time to turn each event and each issue into a lesson for improved leadership. If you stop for a moment to merely pay attention, you will see reminders of each of these five scary simple tricks to make improvements. Also note that Halloween is the first of many occasions in the fourth quarter to turn the holiday, that has either slowed things way down or cranked up the office chaos, into a lesson from which you and those you have the privilege of leading can learn and find benefit. Hang on for the ride this quarter as normal has been turned up a notch and is now going to be running at high speed, while diets are replaced with candy, delicate questions around presents are addressed, and events turn into a reminder of the company’s professional conduct and intoxication policies. Do enjoy the season and remember that each event, party, conversation, hallway chat, and uninterrupted early morning, when you snuck in like an elf to get some work done, is an opportunity to learn and grow in your ability to continue becoming a better leader.
Monica Wofford, CSP is a leadership development specialist who coaches, consults with, and speaks to leaders of all levels, building their skills, emotional intelligence and authenticity. Author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica may be reached at www.ContagiousCompanies.com, www.MonicaWofford.com or by calling 1-866-382-0121.