THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - J

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - J

The many journals which I’ve used to record my thoughts, ideas, reflections etc …

The many journals which I’ve used to record my thoughts, ideas, reflections etc …

We’ve arrived at one of the tough letters. The letter J.

We’re playing The Language of Leadership and I’m asking you to share your words which you use to express leadership. Each day we travel the alphabet and it’s J, today.

I was initially stumped with the letter ‘J’ and then it hit me as I was putting the final touches to the running sheet of a team leadership workshop. I ask leaders to journal their thoughts about being a leader.

Journaling is a reflective practice which helps leaders empty their mind of their thoughts of what they’ve achieved during the day and how they feel about a situation which occurred and how they reacted and responded.

Journaling sets us up for a positive day as it fine tunes our mindset. It’s an exercise to ground us, to be mindful and get us into the present. Too often, our C suite swinging leaders are doing what they do well, steering the organisation into the future, however they leave their selves and people in the past.

I regularly recommend journaling, however, I don’t always practise what I preach! And then when I do, it’s amazing to have the clarity needed to make decisions and to focus solidly on an important piece of project work. It’s also great to build by resilience. It helps put my day’s activities, thoughts and feelings into perspective.

A little J offering is judging. Most of us judge a person or situation way too quickly. We don’t mine enough data to make a sound judgement. Today, pause before you talk, respond or make a decision.  

This morning I was up way too early, getting in my mornings work before the house erupted. My daughter Jenn needed a parent to take her to a divisional level of athletics. Given I work for myself, I have mastered Juggling my day, every day. I often struggle with the juggle, however I continue to practise the skill of juggling, knowing what to prioritise, identifying what’s really important and in particular what to drop e.g. say “No” too.

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How many balls can you juggle?

Juggling two priorities is manageable, and adding a third becomes a skill. (Can you see the person juggling the many balls in one hand?) It takes practice to be a leader of people, a parent, a committee member, a carer etc … this is what you’re juggling. I admire those that know their values and confidently allow these values to navigate and drive these choices and make juggling look so easy!

Finally, I want to add a final J word. I don’t tend to hear myself using the word, however I believe it’s a sign of an authentic leader. I admire people who avoid using jargon.

What about you? What do you admire in leaders …. Beginning with J?!

Successful Morning Practices

Book Review: What the most successful people do before breakfast

Do books need to be two, three, four or five hundred pages long? Is there a prerequisite?

I know that the ‘thud factor’ gives credibility – lots of pages equates to lots of knowledge printed on lots of pages. However, I fear that a big book scares off potential readers. As I near my halfway mark of reading 52 books in 52 weeks, I’ve identified how to read quickly and how to create the time and space to read.

So, I was totally surprised to find that my choice of reading this week was completed in one night. A quick purchase on my Kindle based on the title was only 50 swipes. Complete with a few key lessons – enough to reflect on for the week.

Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People do before Breakfast presents her findings of what others do to make the most of their day.

My daughter Jennifer was perplexed with the cover of the book, a cup of coffee. She doesn’t like the smell of coffee and concerned that she’ll be unable to be successful! So, let's get beyond the cover and I’ll share what I learnt … very quickly!

Depending on what time you rise, and the time you have breakfast, there is a space to fill with activities which some say enables them to be successful.

We all have our own routines, rituals, quirky habits and a mindful of thoughts in the morning, so here’s your opportunity to TICK off if you’re aiding or hindering your successfulness:

·        Wake at 5am – or at a time which gives you an extra 60 to 90 minutes to use wisely

·        Reflect and or Pray on a daily basis

·        Prioritise items to tackle for the day

·        Avoid social media and especially email until you’ve completed a ‘chunk’ of real work

·        Journal your thoughts

·        Exercise - Run, walk, yoga or gym work

How many ticks do you have?

We all have 168 hours in our week and ‘successful’ people use a proportion of these hours a day to nurture their career, relationships and their self.

New research (prior to 2012) identified that self-discipline is in abundance after a good night’s sleep and depletes during the day. I think we’ve already worked that out – I know I can kick off with a healthy breakfast and then arrive at the evening snacking on potato chips while I cook dinner …. 12 hours later! We lapse as the day progresses and whilst some can squeeze in exercise after work or during their lunch break … the research tells us that morning is best; we are fresh and our internal motivation is in abundance to tackle tasks which the outside world isn’t demanding.

The best morning rituals are activities that don’t have to happen and certainly don’t have to happen at a specific hour. These are activities that require internal motivation. These are generally activities which have long term benefits.

So, if you had minimal ticks a few suggestions were offered to change:

·        Tracking your time – identify what you’re doing with your 168 hours a week

·        Picture your perfect morning – visualise what it would look like to be effective in the morning

·        Think through the logistics – what can you change around you to make it work

·        Build the habit – it’s like a muscle … keep practising

·        Tune up as necessary – keep correcting and get your early morning working

This is a seriously short book, however, it’s straight to the point and very implementable. I’ve already adopted the practice of ‘no social media’ in the morning until I’m having a coffee at 10.30am. (Let me tell you, when I do it, it's magic, however, it’s very difficult to change your habits!)

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!