Written by Stephanie Haywood of mylifeboost.com
Task management can be difficult to master. But if you’re a small business owner, task management skills are the secret to success. If you can implement effective management strategies through the full lifecycle of a particular task, you can grow your company and launch exciting new initiatives. You can become better at task management through leadership training with Williams Education Consulting! In the meantime, here are a few ways these key task management skills can help you achieve your goals in your professional and personal life.
Delegation and Communication
When you’re running a business, it’s tempting to try to tackle your entire workload on your own. But learning to delegate and communicate are essential aspects of being a great leader. For example, you could delegate event planning and scheduling, invoicing, or social media management to employees or contractors. In addition, if you’re starting a business in Texas, you could use a formation service to establish your company as an LLC and free up hours of your own time during the process.
Delegation can also come in handy in your household. For instance, creating a chore chart so that your family members take on certain domestic chores can shrink your to-do list, and hiring cleaners could be a great investment!
In order to efficiently manage a task through its full lifecycle, you can’t overlook the importance of organization. To stay organized in the workplace, Sling recommends using a cloud-based project management app so that you don’t lose track of any moving parts while working on a project.
You can use digital project management tools to stay organized in your personal life, too! Alternatively, you can keep planners for your business tasks and your personal responsibilities and goals. This makes it easy to note your progress and stay on top of everything you need to get done.
Understanding Energy Cycles
Everyone’s energy cycle is a little different - but understanding your own can improve your time management capabilities. For example, if you’ve noticed that you’re more productive in the morning, tackling your most pressing tasks at the start of the workday can help you make the most of those hours.
This is also useful knowledge for your personal goals. For instance, if you want to focus on self-care through exercise, you could choose to work out in the morning or evening depending on when you feel more productive and energized.
Dealing With Pressure
When you’re leading a particular project, it can feel like the pressure to deliver great results is overwhelming. That’s why learning to thrive under pressure is integral to task management. Harish Saras recommends taking walks, meditating, and breathing deeply during workday breaks.
Dealing with stress in business can also help you manage stressful situations when you’re off the clock. When you’re dealing with conflict at home or setting boundaries with a family member, you can utilize similar coping techniques.
Finally, knowing how to prioritize what’s most important over small subtasks that can wait can help you complete tasks in a timely manner. Identifying which tasks are truly urgent, as well as evaluating the value of each individual task, are both skills you’ll need in order to prioritize accurately.
Prioritizing what you focus on in your personal life can help you reach your goals faster. For instance, you might prioritize spending time meditating or journaling rather than scrolling through social media. This mindset will allow you to make progress on the goals that matter most in life and at work.
Polishing your task management skills won’t just benefit your business. It will also enable you to meet your self-improvement goals outside of work. By applying these task management tips, you’ll be able to grow in all areas of your life.
Are you interested in pursuing leadership development training? You can grow as a leader through courses with Williams Education Consulting! Reach out to us through the contact form on our website to learn more about our services.
Photo via Pexels
Understanding personal leadership style is important. However, regardless of preferred leadership style and dominant personality traits, an effective leader knows that they must adapt their leadership style and strategies to meet the needs of their team. A team’s capacity, drive, and culture can determine what type of leadership style is needed from their leader to produce the results needed for success.
Two leadership strategies that a leader may employ are push and pull strategies. These strategies are polar opposites of one another, but each can be very useful if applied in the right context. However, using either of these at the wrong time can frustrate employees or stymie growth and productivity.
Envision a push leadership strategy as a leader positioned behind their team, serving as a springboard that pushes them toward their goal. In this situation, team members have the knowledge and tools to be successful. These team members need motivation and support from their leader and a strong vision. Essentially, the leader acts as a mother bird that pushes the baby birds from the nest, knowing that they can fly. When a leader utilizes the push strategy, they give their team members latitude to express creativity, develop solutions, and find strategic ways to accomplish the vision. This strategy relies on a strong, effectively communicated vision, trust, support, and motivation.
A pull leadership strategy occurs when a leader positions themselves in front of their team and pulls them along. The leader has to pave the way and establish the path for the team to follow. A pull leadership strategy is usually necessary if the vision and goals are unclear, the team or organization is implementing an entirely new process, or the team members do not have the knowledge and skills to be successful independently. A pull leadership strategy should only be temporary! As the leader pulls the team, they should refine the vision, establish processes and systems, equip their team, and cultivate a culture that will promote autonomy in the future. The goal of implementing the pull leadership strategy is to create an environment that will allow transitioning to the push strategy.
If a leader finds themselves constantly feeling the need to implement pull leadership, they should ask themselves the following questions:
An effective leader analyzes situations and can adapt their leadership style and strategies to those situations. If you would like support with situational leadership strategies, schedule a coaching call today!
As professionals and as leaders, it is imperative to continuously learn and grow. Without personal development, a leader may find themselves continually using the same skills and thought processes to address challenges, resulting in stagnancy and frustration. Without continuous learning and growth, innovation and creativity are slowed or even halted. Additionally, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, growth is a requirement for self-actualization, which describes the fulfillment of one’s potential.
While most professionals and leaders understand the need for professional development and learning, an issue arises when there are limited opportunities to engage in professional learning and growth. There are many reasons why leaders do not engage in professional development, including the following:
Regardless of the barriers one may face when contemplating professional learning and growth, a successful leader will own their own development. It is advantageous if the organization that a leader is affiliated with supports and facilitates professional development for its staff; however, if the organization does not, a proactive leader will seek ways to grow themselves professionally and advance their career. Here are a few strategies for taking ownership of personal development and growth:
There are three primary goals for seeking professional development: (1) personal growth; (2) job efficacy; and (3) career advancement. Taking ownership of your professional growth and development will result in personal fulfillment, the ability to meet and exceed expectations in one’s current role, and preparation for the next career phase.
Company culture can make or break an organization’s success. Leaders have a direct responsibility for establishing and maintaining a work culture that allows employees to thrive. Although there are no one-size-fits-all cultures, there are fundamental leadership values that foster positive work cultures. These core values include being firm, fair, and consistent when leading.
A firm leader establishes rules, policies, and protocols and holds team members accountable for abiding by them. Being firm requires balance—leaders do not want to be perceived as being mean or unreasonable. However, laissez faire leadership is rarely successful either. A firm leader says what they mean and means what they say. If there is a late policy, it is enforced. If there is a time off policy, it is enforced. Team members are held responsible for meeting performance expectations. Ultimately, team members view firm leaders as confident, strong, and trustworthy. The culture of an organization is strong when everyone is expected to perform their role.
A fair leader treats team members in an equitable manner. Many have experienced what it is like to work with a leader who plays favorites—it can be discouraging if an employee is not a favorite and does not receive the perks or allowances that others receive. Unfairness manifests in the workplace as favoritism and nepotism and can even be the result of prejudice, stereotypes, and bias. A leader should strive to treat all team members in a fair manner and be conscious of how interactions with team members can be perceived by others.
A consistent leader behaves in a manner that provides structure and predictability to the workplace. A leader should enforce policies consistently, communicate on a regular cadence, and be present and visible in a consistent manner. Being consistent does not mean that a leader cannot be spontaneous or surprise team members; consistency means that the basic aspects of the organization and of job functions are understood and applied all the time and with predictability.
Firm, fair, and consistent leaders instill confidence in their team members and set them up for success. Employees who feel like they are treated fairly and are valued will always do more than what is expected. Employees who do not have to worry about the “what ifs” of day-to-day operations can focus their energy on work performance.
Being a firm, fair, and consistent leader requires that the right policies and procedures be in place. It also requires a leader to be confident and comfortable holding team members accountable and having critical conversations. If you would like assistance or support in any of these areas, I am here to help! Contact me for a free consultation today!
It is inevitable that we will experience crisis, whether personally, in our business, in our nation, or even globally. This year seems to be filled with one crisis after another and people look to leaders for direction. As a leader, your actions during times of crisis have significant impact on those you lead and are evidence of your efficacy as a leader. Demonstrate your leadership during times of crisis by heeding these five areas:
If you would like support while leading or aspire to be a leader, contact Amber E. Williams today!
What is not addressed will continue.
I have heard many leaders at different leadership levels in different organizations complain. Behind closed doors, leaders who are dissatisfied with the performance of their team spend a lot of time complaining and gossiping about people in the organization. The problem is that these types of leaders spend more time complaining about the problem than searching for a solution. They return to their workplace hoping that something may be different, but change is not magical; change is the result of deliberately identifying a problem and addressing it with a solution-oriented mindset and an action plan. Problems that are not addressed will continue.
People do not change things they do not see as a problem.
Leaders are often in their position because they are visionaries. They are big picture people. It may even be hard for them to accept that many on their team do not have that vision. Team members may not see the ripple affect of their behavior and performance on the rest of the team, the rest of the organization, or the people that the organization serves. As a result, leaders have the responsibility to address problems that they identify because the employees who are committing the offenses may not be aware that their behavior or performance is not acceptable. An employee who is a drain to the company culture probably does not believe that about themselves. A person will not work to fix something that they have never seen as broken. It is the leader’s responsibility to call attention to the behaviors that do not meet their standards of practice.
Why do we avoid critical conversations?
There are many reasons why leaders avoid critical conversations. Some leaders like to avoid conflict. They may desire to preserve the false sense of calm and collegiality that is in their team. This is fallible thinking because unchecked team member behaviors erode positive company culture. Other leaders are fearful of losing team members. They believe that everyone they confront will resign and they will be stuck trying to fill vacant positions. This is fallible thinking because a leader should not want that kind of person on the team anyway. Lastly, some leaders just want to be liked. They are fearful that they will lose the favor of their team if they must chastise or reprimand. This is fallible thinking because most team members desire to be properly led. When a performing team member observes another team member’s poor behavior go unchecked, it is demotivating and perpetuates doubt in the leader’s ability to lead.
How do you have a critical conversation?
A critical conversation does not have to be confrontational, but it should be direct. These conversations should be held face-to-face, if possible. A colleague once told me, if an email draft reaches a third paragraph, it means a conversation should be had instead. Critical conversations should not be conducted via email. Also, these conversations should be planned and scheduled in advance. This ensures that interruptions and distractions are limited, and the other party recognizes the seriousness of the conversation to be had.
In traditional feedback sessions, we are often encouraged to temper constructive feedback with positive feedback. This is not necessarily the case in critical conversations. You do not want your message to be lost or watered down by positive praise that may be irrelevant to the subject at hand. You must be direct without being severe, but you cannot waver in your expression of your standards and expectations.
During critical conversations, it is important to reference previously conveyed rules, policies, procedures, and expectations if possible. Feelings and emotions can be argued, standards of practice cannot. In instances when the unacceptable behavior is more subjective, such as negative attitudes, try to identify specific behaviors that reflect the negative attitude and refer to concrete examples of how the unacceptable behavior impacts others or the organization.
What is the result of the critical conversation?
The ideal result of a critical conversation is changed behavior. In a perfect scenario, the other party realizes the gravity of their behavior and immediately works to correct it. Alternatively, the other party may not agree about the views of their behavior or performance, but they recognize that their leader does not approve so they will conform. Conversely, a person may rebel, lash out, or leave. As a leader, you must be okay with someone’s disgruntled exit. What that means is that they are not responsive to leadership, do not demonstrate a growth mindset, and cannot conform to the norms and standards set by your organization. Ultimately, that person is not an asset to your team, no matter how talented they may be.
If you would like coaching in critical conversations, I would be happy to help! Contact me today to schedule a free consultation!
The word toxic is used frequently to describe behaviors, relationships, and environments, but what does it mean? The word toxic literally means poisonous, but when used in this way, it refers to the undesirable, destructive, and detrimental characteristics of something that drain and damage those that encounter it. How do you know if you work in a toxic environment? Here are a few indicators:
Workplace culture is the leader’s responsibility. A leader has the choice to create the workplace culture or accept and perpetuate a culture that develops on its own. If a toxic work environment exists, then the leader either created that culture through their behavior or allowed other employees to create the toxic culture. In either scenario, the leader has failed, and their team suffers.
If you are a leader that recognizes that your workplace culture is toxic, it is important that you become the catalyst for change. Addressing your own toxic leadership traits is the first step to shifting the culture. Set the example by cultivating authentic relationships with all employees on your team, not just a select few. Actively seek to collaborate and receive feedback from subordinates. Communicate positively and welcome new ideas. Effective, sustainable change begins with the leader!
If you are a leader and would like coaching and support to change your organizational culture, I would be happy to assist! Contact me today!
Many of us have been there. Your supervisor is breathing down your neck and monitoring your every move. You can’t make a move without checking in first, you have to justify every decision, and every moment of your day has to be reported. You feel like you are being smothered, your creativity is stifled, and you are sure that you are being micromanaged. What can you do?
When we are being micromanaged by a leader, it is not uncommon to begin to wonder if your leader doubts your ability to fulfill your role. You may begin to feel undervalued or simply fed up and frustrated that you are not given the space to do your job. Before you quit or have a confrontation with your supervisor, consider the following steps:
Use this opportunity to build rapport with your supervisor and to demonstrate professionalism. No one appreciates being micromanaged so as you move up in leadership, remember to offer the same freedom to your team that you need to get the job done.
Disappointment occurs when reality doesn’t meet expectations. Perhaps a family member, friend, or colleague did not behave the way they were expected. Maybe money did not arrive when it was supposed to. Perhaps you didn’t get the promotion that you went after. Maybe your team fell short of a performance goal. Perhaps your marketing campaign did not generate new customers. The list could go on and on. Disappointments can happen anytime and they can happen often. How do you deal with disappointment so that you do not become discouraged or give up? Here are a few ways you can deal with the disappointment in your life:
Leadership is a complex job description. There are varying definitions for leadership in research, yet every so often, leaders come along that defy the current definitions and add more dynamics to the accepted notions of leadership. Leaders find themselves defined by their success or failures. Success can bring life-long accolades while failures can end careers. There are many perspectives about what makes a good leader and a general idea about what makes a bad leader. Fortunately for bad leaders, there are strategies that they can use to become better leaders.
Characteristics of a Good Leader
In order to know what makes a good leader, it is helpful to understand what the leadership job description is. While many job descriptions refer to leadership abilities or leadership qualities, those are rarely defined. Mike Myatt defines leadership as:
The professed desire and commitment to serve others by subordinating personal interests to the needs of those being led through effectively demonstrating the character, experience, humility, wisdom and discernment necessary to create the trust [&] influence to cause the right things, to happen for the right reasons, at the right times (2012).
In light of that definition, Myatt also goes on to state, “there is no perfect leader; only the right leader for a given situation (2012). However, most researchers and writers agree on similar qualities that good leaders possess.
Characteristics of a Bad Leader
Just as there are good leaders, conversely, there are bad ones. Bad leaders are leaders who have failed or leaders who have succeeded but their methods were questionable. Failure is viewed in a variety of ways depending on the various industries, organizations, and results; however, there have been many prominent leadership failures over time. Most failed leaders have characteristics in common. These characteristics include feeling invincible, being paralyzed by fear, failing to grow, not being passionate, failing to dream, feeling entitled, and having a sense of victimization. On the other hand, other leaders have failed by gaining success at the expense of others. These leaders may have done things that are illegal, made decisions that were unethical, utilized unsound methodology, or settled for strategies that were not innovative.
How to Become a Better Leader
There is hope for leaders who do not start off great. Fortunately, there are strategies that they can implement to improve their performance as leaders. This includes:
Would you like to improve your leadership skills? Schedule a free consultation today!