13 Mistakes Exceptional Leaders Avoid

13 Mistakes Exceptional Leaders Avoid

Running a business is hard work. And exceptional leaders aren’t born overnight. The stress of keeping up with your clients and team can be overwhelming to say the least. However, you’ll want to avoid falling victim to unprofessional behaviors in response to the constant demands on your time and energy.

Exceptional leaders avoid:

Not Listening

It’s often easy to lose sight of what others (employees, vendors, clients, partners) are saying while chasing progress in our businesses. Sometimes pride gets in the way or there’s pressure to meet operational demands or sales goals. Take the time to refocus your priorities and listen to those around you. People who feel that their voice and opinions have been heard are typically much better partners in achieving company goals.

Micromanaging

Stop it! No, really stop it! You must put the right person in place and trust the job that they are doing. Letting go of some things when it comes to your business can be hard. If you have the right people in place, you are able to really focus on the things that you can do to grow the business.

Losing Your  Temper

Although we are human, leaders need to stay as calm as possible during good times and bad. Most people don’t appreciate being talked down to or yelled at in any situation. If you notice yourself beginning to lose control, step away for a few moments and do your best to calm down. Things like meditation, walking, and music can be very helpful.

Lacking Transparency

As leaders we are expected to make big decisions with facts pretty much only known to us for reasons that only we think we can understand. And while in some cases that may be true, don’t assume that others won’t care about or understand your vision. You have to be more transparent to your company stakeholders and your team to really have their buy-in to your master plan. Don’t let the urge to act quickly cause you to forget to communicate and offer explanations as to why your direction is best.

Gossiping

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Yeah, I know. It’s so cliche. But the advice is solid. Don’t participate or encourage gossiping of any kind. Nothing good ever comes from negativity.

Relying on Ego

Everyone has big “ego” moments, but try not to become too overly confident. Being empathetic and learning to quickly take a step back and see the reactions of people on the team will allow you to adapt and adjust.

Ignoring Difficult Clients

Be a role model for those around you and set an example in dealing with difficult clients. No matter how ridiculous they may seem, they are also trying to make their businesses work.

Letting a Small Issue Become a Huge Issue

Not many people like conflict but as we all know, issues can sometimes snowball. This can mean that something may start out small and doesn’t seem worth addressing but can grow until it becomes too uncomfortable to easily fix. Company culture is defined by the worst behavior you are willing to tolerate, and having a toxic culture because you are too polite to call someone out on unacceptable behavior is a recipe for disaster.

Constructive Criticism

It can be easy to resent it when friends and colleagues criticize your ideas or suggest changes. Remember that constructive criticism about your ideas is not a personal attack. Instead of viewing it as a negative thing, take the opportunity to improve upon the foundation that you have built.

Being Pre-occupied During Meetings

I know. We are all pretty much attached to our smartphones. They go with us everywhere and store our entire lives.  Checking it every 30 seconds is completely normal right?! The result is that you are only half-present in meetings and not giving people your full attention. Put the phone away and/or place it in do not disturb mode during this time.

Not Scheduling Regular Meetings

 

Communication is critical in a team environment. And a great way to encourage communication within a team is to hold regular meetings to discuss business. Meetings don’t have to be a time suck and can be beneficial for everyone involved. Create a meeting agenda beforehand and be sure to have all meeting materials ready. If necessary, use a timer or alarm to end the meeting at a reasonable time.

Being Everyone’s Friend

It’s important to have boundaries with your employees for both legal and ethical reasons. Your policies should be well documented and followed consistently with all staff. Don’t lose great employees because someone else (who happens tp be a friend) is allowed to get away with poor behavior. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still care for and help them whenever possible. Your employees are the best investment you have in your business. And they should feel appreciated.

Not Checking In

While it’s wise not to micromanage, it’s also wise to check in with people from time to time. Don’t give people the impression that you are uninterested in the business. If you aren’t interested, they won’t be either.

5 EXCELLENT WAYS TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF

5 EXCELLENT WAYS TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF

Seek to make lifestyle changes that will last. Self-improvement and continuous growth should be something we strive for all year long and not just at the beginning of the year. With the new year, comes unique opportunities and challenges aimed at personal growth and improvement. Try one of the following five challenges to have your best year yet!

Further Your Education

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to invest in yourself and education is a great way to do that. Education is an extremely powerful tool which provides limitless opportunities. Work to get your GED or Bachelor’s degree. Or take a few continuing education classes and obtain a certification related to your field. Not only will you achieve one of your own personal goals but you will make yourself much more marketable in the workplace by learning new skills.

With the introduction of personal computers and mobile technology, education is now easier than ever to obtain. Not to mention that there are also many free and low cost options for those on a tight budget. Challenge yourself to take the next step in your educational goals; register for a class or research your options. Get started today!

Run A Marathon

Running a marathon is probably one of the hardest physical endeavors you could ever attempt. It takes strength, stamina, and perseverance. However, maintaining the dedication and discipline necessary to train for a marathon may be just as hard. Sometimes it can be just as difficult making it to race day as it is making it to the finish line. A marathoner is required to not only create an effective training plan for their race but they must also be concerned about things such as nutrition and injury prevention. If a marathon seems out of reach for you, try starting with a 5K or 10K race. Enter a few of those until you begin to feel comfortable as a runner. So get your running shoes on, get out, and start logging some miles!

Improve Your Health

So you may not be ready to run a marathon but who wouldn’t want to be healthier and feel better about themselves? Just about everyone in the world has at least one thing that they can change to improve their health. Some of them may be simple such as cutting back on sugar whereas others may require more of a commitment like giving up smoking. Taking steps to improve your health is probably the single best way to challenge yourself in the new year and for a great reason. Aside from the fantastic physical benefits that improving your health will provide such as lower blood pressure, weight loss, and better muscle tone; there are phenomenal mental benefits as well, including lower stress and increased self-confidence to name a few. Help meet your goals by joining a local gym. Whatever you decide, be sure to commit to the change. It just may be the best thing you have ever done for yourself.

Learn A New Skill

Learning a new skill is a wonderful way to challenge yourself. Practical skills such as sewing, carpentry, and cooking are great to add to your repertoire. Not only can these skills provide a potential source of income for you during difficult times but they can also improve your own quality of life.

Face A Fear

Fear can be a difficult emotion to process. It can cause us to feel panic and think irrationally. But learning to master those emotions is an extremely powerful feeling. What is it that scares you the most? Are you afraid of rollercoasters? Are you afraid of flying? Whatever it is, face it head on. You may not be able to meet this challenge immediately but steadily work towards it. For example, if your fear is of roller coasters you may not want to go and jump on a roller coaster immediately (unless you are feeling extra brave). Instead start by researching roller coasters and learning about them.

Tackling any of these challenges in the coming year will surely put you on the right path for personal growth. Don’t set a resolution, set the life you want and follow your passion!

7 SIMPLE WAYS TO HANDLE SETBACKS IN LIFE

7 SIMPLE WAYS TO HANDLE SETBACKS IN LIFE

Ever have one of those times when it seems as if life is going great? Work is going well, you’re happy, the family is happy, and you’re feeling great. Then BAM! It hits. Like a brick. Something happens and you experience setbacks in life. Setbacks can be emotionally and physically draining not to mention significantly affect your finances as well. It could be something like the loss of a loved one, a financial or health crisis, the breakup of a relationship, or even a failing business. They often leave us feeling sad and lost and not sure where to turn next. Fortunately there are ways to lessen the hurt and still come out on top…

Time – Be sure to give yourself some time to be upset, angry, or hurt. Suppressing your emotions will only work against you. Remember the expression “misery loves company”? Take the time you need to grieve properly (this will be different for everyone) but don’t dwell in those feelings to the point where it begins to affect your life in a negative way. Many times these situations are beyond our control. For example, if you apply for a job that you are really hoping to get only to find out it was offered to someone else. Try to find ways to focus your energy in a productive manner.

Be Honest – Honesty is the best policy especially with yourself and with others. If your setback is due to a mistake you made, be honest about it. Own up to your actions and figure out a way to move forward.

Forgive – If your setback is due to an issue that someone else caused, do whatever you can to try and forgive them. Forgiveness does not mean that you agree with their words or actions but rather that you want to focus on removing the negative from your life. The truth is, forgiveness is more for you than for anyone or anything that may have offended or hurt you. Releasing the feelings of hate can be very liberating for you and it may even go a long way towards repairing a damaged relationship.

Focus on Solutions – For every problem, there is a solution. That solution may not be apparent to you immediately but it will come to you. Spend more of your time thinking of solutions and creating a plan of action rather than rehashing your problems over and over. This skill is sometimes easier said than done especially when our problems seem so overwhelming. Be sure to write down your plan and review it regularly. This will help keep you accountable to yourself as you are working through any issues. The best thing about mistakes is that they always provide opportunities for growth and learning. So take advantage of it. Use this experience as a platform to educate yourself.

Seek Advice – If you are in a situation and simply don’t know what to do it is often wise to seek advice from someone you trust. This person can be a friend, co-worker, family member, or mentor, as long as they are someone you can be open and honest with regarding your situation. Seeking advice actually serves two purposes. The obvious, being that you will get a new perspective on your situation and they may even be able to help you develop a plan on how to move forward. In addition, the act of talking to someone we trust can serve as a sort of therapy for us, helping to work through the problem in our own minds.

Stress Relief – Seek out healthy ways to reduce your stress. Hit the gym or visit a spa for some extra pampering. Going for a walk, meditating, and reading are other great ways to destress. Whatever you do be sure it is an activity that will make you feel better and will not cause an unnecessary burden. Even something as simple as taking a deep breath and counting slowly to 10 can calm the mind and lower blood pressure.

No one is immune from conflict in life. No one. Everyone has experienced problems and disappointments. However, your reaction to these setbacks is likely to determine the outcome. How will you respond?

10 WAYS TO USE PINTEREST TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

10 WAYS TO USE PINTEREST TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

If you’re looking to expand your efforts on social media, consider Pinterest one of your next platforms.

With over 100 million active users, this image-based social media site has the potential to help you reach even more customers. Since Pinterest focuses on your visual interests, you will do well if you appeal to your customers desire to eat, drink, travel, shop, or create.

So if you’re looking to get started with Pinterest, use these great tips to expand your network and send traffic back to your website or blog.

Pin Your Blogs

If you’re blogging, you can increase the number of people who view the post by sharing it on Pinterest. The key here is to have a strong image that will compel people to click through to your site or repin your post. Use the pin description field to describe what people will get out of the blog post to further entice them to read it and share. It should be descriptive and concise similar to an “elevator speech”. And don’t forget to include for better search indexing on Pinterest.

Pin Your Products 

If you sell products, make sure to use the Pin It button on each product image on your website to increase the likelihood that people will share it on Pinterest. And again, make sure your images are visually appealing and professional. In the pin description, be sure to include a the sale price and a link back to the sales page so that potential customers can make direct purchases.

Timing is Everything

Specific categories on Pinterest tend to do better on certain days of the week, so do some research to find out when people are most likely to care about your target categories. Also, test out different timing for your shares. It’s been shown that 2 to 4 pm, as well as 8 pm to 1 am are prime times to attract attention and therefore more repins, but see what works with you own audience.

Curate Great Content

Your Pinterest account shouldn’t be a billboard for your business. You can – and should – also share other content that’s relevant and of interest to your followers.

Curate content from all over the web by pinning things to your Pinterest boards. Create specific boards that cover very specific topics and include your own comments in the description when repinning or sharing content. For example, if you sell fashion, you could have a board called “Fashion Week 2017” and display photos of the best fashion week styles. This tactic most likely won’t drive traffic to your site, but it does establish you as a leader in the field due to the useful information that you share.

Just Ask 

Just simply asking your audience to repin, comment, or click in your description can increase engagement by a whopping 80%! Just stick to one call to action (CTA), otherwise you may confuse people. Decide what has the biggest value for you for each time you pin: a click to your site, a repin to reach more people, or a comment to promote engagement. The more repins an image has, the more it’s likely to attract, so keep that in mind.

Be a Good Friend

Pinterest is a social network. That means you’ve got to give a little to get something in return. And sometimes you have to give a lot and just stick with it! To that end, repin other users’ pins, comment on them, and tag them to engage in relationship building. After all, that is what social media is for. Hopefully you will be so good at building the relationship that they demand to use your services or purchase your products.

Keep Your Content Relevant

Start out by searching for pins that relate to your business and create boards based on the most popular pins. You want all your boards and pins to relate to your business to keep in line with your brand’s messaging.

Consider Buyable Pins

One of the coolest features on Pinterest is Buyable Pins, which allow users to buy a product with the click of a button on a pin of a product. This has significant opportunity to increase revenue since users don’t have to leave Pinterest to make purchases. They no longer need to go to your site and hunt for the product they want to buy.

Establish Goals

Simply pinning images and links on Pinterest isn’t going to make you a marketing success. It’s important to set objectives for what you want to accomplish. Would you like to attract 50 new followers a week? Increase click through to your site by 30%? By when? Define very specific goals outlining what you’re hoping to achieve. Review and assess goals regularly.

The Metrics Matter

How can you know if your efforts on Pinterest are doing your business any good? Now that you’ve set your goals, look at the relevant metrics. If you’re looking to increase followers or pins, start tracking those numbers and look for an increase over the time period you chose. If you want to increase traffic to your website, look at your Google Analytics to see how many visitors came to your site from Pinterest.

Pinterest is a fantastic addition to what you’re already doing to market your business. Keep your efforts consistent and vary the types of images and links you pin. Happy Pinning!