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Leadership Lessons with The Beatles: Actionable Tips and Tools for Becoming Better at Leading by Shantha Mohan

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Trust your intuition and take action if have sufficient information, remember you are never going to have all the information but be sure to gather sufficient details. Intuition is a type of pattern recognition you develop with time and experience.  Therefore only rely upon your intuition if you have some experience in the field otherwise seek assistance from outside experts. 

You might have an impulse to chase the most recent interruption, but you can miss the big picture when you do that. Maintaining a written task list and scheduling time for specific tasks helps get things done. The feeling that work is not in control is highly stressful. Life feels much more in control when you have a clear list of things to work on and time allocated for the tasks.  Time box your calendar with not just work activities, but activities with your family and friends. Next time you have to travel for work, be deliberate about asking if you can avoid it.  Importantly keep the commitments you make.

When we encounter challenges remember to be deliberately be more optimistic!  Optimism is required in business and in life – optimists live longer & work to overcome roadblocks. Failures don’t get them down, and they deal with them much better than those who are pessimistic.  Don’t be afraid to take risks and take complete responsibility for your decisions.  Temper optimism with reality.

The long and winding road – a leader needs to have purpose and also overcome numerous setbacks.  Reflect on what went wrong and how to do something better next time.  Consider reflecting on situations with the ABCDE method:

A: Adverse event – identify it

B: Belief – how do you feel about this

C: Consequence – respond based on your view of the consequence of this

D: Disputation – take a moment to question your initial thoughts

E: Challenge our belief (E doesn’t seem to stand for anything staring with E!).

Questions to ask yourself:

Do I question my negative beliefs?

Do I celebrate minor victories?

Do I understand my strengths and leverage them?

Leaders with humility don’t compare themselves to others. They also see that while they can do anything, they cannot do everything all at once. They know that being authentic is critical to achieving any goal.  A great way to become humble is by learning to be grateful. 

Get back to having the curiosity of a child, asking lots of questions.  To try to establish the route cause of a problem consider asking why five times. 

Do you understand your audience? Is your communication situational? Do you know when you should be a forceful, direct communicator or when to be a sympathetic listener?

Realise that as a leader it is important that you will need to ask for a help.  Asking your team for help will also show that you value their opinion, realise it is also imperative to help others. 

In conflicts remain calm, think we can work it out. Find out needs from others. Great example of two chefs needing an orange.  They were arguing so the head chef just split it in two, both meals not great.  In fact one needed the juice the other the zest! 

Any Time at All be approachable to your team, possessing authenticity, vulnerability by asking for help make you more approachable

If you hoard the power of decision-making, your team cannot. Instead empower team members particularly with reservable decisions to assist their growth. 

Situational leadership involves flexibility and adaptability. The leader changes the style of leadership to suit the situation.  In your team you may need to utilise directive coaching, in which you as the leader direct the team, and it is effective when working with individuals who have limited skills and are seek direction. Another method is where the leader acts as a facilitator. Facilitative coaching works well with self-motivated teams who possess domain knowledge.

Let it be – manage stress, remain optimistic, develop resilience and utilise mindfulness techniques.  Each of us is unique, and our stress tolerance differs from person to person.  Performance against pressure can be shown as as a bell-shape curve known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law. Too stress represented on the left of the curve leads to minimal productivity due to boredom and inaction.  Too much stress on the right of the curve leads to burnout and hence lower productivity.  Aim to give yourself optimum pressure, this is unique to you but it can maximise your performance. 

Life long learning with reflection is important for leaders.  “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”, from a speech JFK was about to give prior to being assassinated. 

Identify issues, ask yourself if you should focus on work all the time. Label your emotions and use your emotions and identify your priority. Consider implementing or defining a flexible work schedule for yourself and getting your team to support you in the decision.  Realise that balancing conflicting priorities in your life is important, priorities change over time. 

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