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DeathtoStock_Creative Community6According to Harvard Business Review writer, John Coleman, reading broadly is one of the most important habits aspiring business leaders should cultivate. Constantly seeking to improve general knowledge, flex comprehension muscle and increase vocabulary will reap many benefits for business leaders. There is no better way to develop all of the above, and more, than to dive between the pages of, well, just about anything you fancy.

In the article, “For Those Who Want to Lead, Read”, Coleman encourages business leaders to read publications of many different types, claiming that their organisations may “innovate and prosper” with influence from the benefits extensive reading brings. Extensive reading promotes creativity and enhances complex reasoning skills, two of the most important tools in the business leaders’ belt.

Reading widely also results in a broad knowledge base. Coming into frequent contact with new information and ideas, leaders who read are able to assess and possibly integrate them into their businesses. Fields such as economics, psychology and sociology all contain concepts that are likely to be useful to a business leader when applied wisely. Even reading fiction, Coleman says, will benefit business leaders, by helping them develop empathy that can be helpful when dealing with employees and clients.

Not only are avid readers more likely to understand the needs of colleagues and clients better, they are also more adept at communicating their understanding. Avid readers tend to be more articulate and have a wider vocabulary to choose from, so are able to express themselves more exactly.

Coleman also notes that reading for leisure keeps stress levels down, and so is a healthy way for people in high level positions to relax. It is also supposed to help ward off Alzheimer’s.

Although reading in “unrelated” disciplines or reading for fun might seem like a waste of time, for a savvy aspiring business leader, the opposite is in fact the truth. Spending time reading is investing in the multifaceted intelligence true leaders require; an investment that is bound to pay off.

stack-20241_640According to a new report released by Hudson, ‘work life balance’ tops the list of priorities for Australian workers in 2015. No longer just a buzz word, work life balance is sought by 70% of professionals interviewed. Whether it’s working parents hoping to spend some quality time with their children, or people with time-consuming hobbies, workers make no secret of the fact that they may like their job, but time to pursue their ‘real life’ is important too. Work life balance now beats out higher salary or career advancement to be the aspect of employment considered the most important.

A feeling of belonging, or fitting in to an organisation’s culture also ranks high for workers at all levels, actually topping the list for senior executives. It seems workers at this level appreciate the sense that they are in the right organisation, and find more fulfillment in their jobs if there is no stress from workplace cultural clashes.

A good benefits package is also in the top five things job seekers look for in prospective employment. Generally workers are seeking to better the deal they currently have, whether it be receiving a higher salary, switching to a more prestigious brand or  earning a more impressive job title. Aussie workers like to feel that they are heading towards the top, and many will part ways with a company if they get stuck at the same level for too long.

If the cultural fit is not right, or the work life balance is off kilter? The report says 8 out of 10 workers have an up to date CV ready to show recruitment firms and headhunters, even if they are not actively job seeking.

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Even the world’s best collaborators sometimes need some time to themselves. Alone time, whether it is at home or at work, is almost impossible to come by, unless you have your own space. These days office environments are often geared towards lots of communication between colleagues, with individual cubicles being dismantled in favour of open plan offices where everyone can be a part of the team. This is great in theory, and most people prefer the democratising and social benefits of the shared space. But what are you losing if you give up your personal space?

Having your own space makes a big difference to the way you think and feel. While nothing new is created in a vacuum, people often need time and space to themselves to come up with original ideas, or solutions to problems. Having personal space allows for deeper relaxation and greater concentration, both extremely helpful mental states for many types of work. Many tasks can be completed with greater accuracy if they are attempted without interruption or distraction.

One of the great benefits of a personal work space is the ability to decorate it to your liking. Purely individual touches, like photographs of family members, are great motivators to some workers. Others aim to improve the feng shui of the workplace by adding plants, crystals or mirrors in strategic places. These personal items can individualise sections of shared spaces, giving individuals further focus, and ultimately be a positive influence on workplace practices.

People attempting to work from home can find the home office (which is often used for a combination of activities) a tricky place to get work done. If having your own space designated solely to work is impossible, see if you can designate some particular times for that space to be for work only.

Taking the time and space to work alone when needed will mean you can come to team meetings better prepared and ready to share your personal best when collaboration is in order.

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Somewhere along the line, “ambition” has become a dirty word. It conjures images of money-hungry men with no personal lives, or women with out-of-date shoulder-pads, striving for recognition in a “man’s world”. But it is time to rethink “ambition”, and align it once more with the related ideas of enthusiasm, hope, and hard work. Too many people wander through the years without drive or purpose because they fear being seen as status-seeking or greedy. But nobody wins when we deny our ambitions, and the experiences that come with recognising and fulfilling them.

Listening closely to our inner voices, we will all find there are things that we would like to achieve. It is only if we let ourselves grow in the direction of our dreams that we become the people we are meant to be. Who is that ideal? Someone who has made peace with being vulnerable (i.e. human!), someone who has found freedom from fear of failure, and someone who is not overly concerned about what others might think.

It is prudent to check your motives. Self-serving ambitions, or those born of lust for money or notoriety are not going to take you closer to your authentic self. But ambitions related to your life’s work and increasing the impact it has on others are probably motivated by more than glory.

When we are honest with ourselves, we notice that the things we are drawn to do are usually those that harness our talents and play to our strengths. Our ambitions are usually exactly in line with our true potential; our loftiest goals are just in reach when we are performing at our very best. We need to remember it is more than okay to set our sights high and work towards achievements that are personally meaningful. And in the words of Marianne Williamson, it is helpful to remember that “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Ambition is back!

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Last week we touched on the topic of New Year’s resolutions to help give you focus, make your goals specific and ready your mind for change.  That’s all well and good, but what if your motivation is lacking in the first place; it can be hard to get yourself back on track.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”

- Henry Ford

The summer holidays might be over but that doesn’t stop you dreaming about your past holiday, your next holiday or just simply wishing you were someplace else.  Here are some of my top tips to help maintain that motivation.

  1. Focus on the tasks that really give you enjoyment. There are always those jobs that we hate to do so I recommend either delegating them to someone else (even just for a short period) or putting them off for as long as possible.
  1. Negativity promotes negativity and if you find that you are hanging out with negative people then that very same feeling will rub off on you. How about socialising with those people who ooze positivity and feelings of determination and success?
  1. How about a bit of gratitude to help you through the day? You can easily sit there and think about how bad your life is or how bad your job is, however focussing on the good in your life will help to muster some motivation to help you through.
  1. Getting out of bed early and struggling to get to work amidst the bustling traffic can be a nuisance, but what about the benefits? Concentrating on the benefits of why you do what you do can help inspire you to do better than you ever imagined.
  1. One great way to stay on track despite waning enthusiasm is to keep yourself accountable. This will ensure that you don’t fall behind when you aren’t fully up to the task.  Getting behind in your work will drag you down even further so staying accountable will help maintain your goals.

Everyone goes through periods of self-doubt and lethargy, but if your work and career is truly something you are passionate about, then it is worth focussing on the good times rather than the bad when the doldrums set in.

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It is becoming more and more popular, in both business and personal worlds, to avoid making resolutions when the new year rolls around.

If you think about it, we generally tend to make the same resolutions, year after year:  lose weight, eat healthier, be more productive and/or organised, etc.  Yet we rarely manage to achieve these things.

In fact, many of us fail to even take action on them in the first place.

Rather than dismiss the whole concept of New Year’s resolutions as pointless, it is still important to make them. There are three very good reasons for doing so.

1. It gives you focus

Setting resolutions is the first step in goal setting for your business. Consider it the long-term or year-long goal, even if it is a partial step towards a longer-term or larger goal.

Although a resolution is stated more as an “I will do” than an “I want”, it will give you some direction and focus, something to work towards, rather than floundering about from one task to another with no real direction.

Which brings us to the next point.

2. Well written resolutions tell you ‘how’ as much as ‘what’

Similar to that of your goals, your resolutions are more effective when they are more specific. Resolutions such as “I want to lose weight” or “I will be more productive” or “My business will be successful” are far too vague and very likely to remain unmet.

If you’re heading for a goal, then follow the rules of goal setting:  be specific, add a time frame, add numbers or measurements.

If you’re working on yourself and your behaviours, such as being more organised or productive, then specify how you will do this. For example, you may state “I will do my filing at the end of each day” or you’ll choose to set aside half an hour at the end of each day to set a list for the following day.

Details and specifics will not only ensure your resolutions are met, but they will also show you how to take the steps towards a successful year.

3. It readies your mind for change

One remarkable thing about writing is when you write your goals, desires or resolutions, they help them to stick in your mind. It not only helps you remember them, it also helps to prepare your mind for the changes in your behaviours.

Nobody really likes change, and this is why habits are often very difficult to break.

Making resolutions with adequate detail will give your brain a bit of a warning about changes to come and prepare it a little.

It also affords you the opportunity to see just what the specific changes are and how you can implement them into your life. Rather than saying “I will be more organised”, for example, and having no idea how you’re going to do it, it details the steps for you. This is where overwhelm – and failure – can be avoided.

On a final note, on making your resolutions for 2015, remember to keep the focus on things YOU want to do, and not what others want you to do. Whilst you’re keeping your resolutions specific, also remember to make them achievable.

Best of luck for the New Year.

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We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year.  Stay safe over the holidays and we will see you back here in the new year.

Merry Christmas from Admin Bandit.

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