How Leaders Benefit From Journaling

How Leaders Benefit From Journaling

Are you reaping the rewards of journaling? Leaders face an ever-demanding role as the business climate continues to speed up to counter threats. The pressures of superiors, stockholders and customers don’t seem to give you much time to catch your breath. Responses must be quick. Choices must be smart. Have you experienced this in your attempts to run an organization? Expectations of you never diminish. In her 2016 Harvard Business Review article, Want to Be an Outstanding Leader? Keep a Journal, Nancy Adler puts it succinctly: “Extraordinary leadership requires seeing before others see, understanding before others understand, and acting before others act.” You strive to do this, but how can you initiate critical thoughts and keep them fresh under such circumstances? Wise leadership requires careful reflection of evolving ideas and feelings that may be forgotten from one day to the next. Mental processing is difficult enough without the distractions of the everyday pace. The answer that many leaders have found, Adler states, is keeping a personal journal. Initially, this may seem banal. But research and many leader testimonials support the benefits of this personal practice. Making the Effort Journaling captures thoughts and ideas to be revisited. Difficult feelings can be worked through and tough concepts can be further examined. Consider journal entries as bookmarks in a volume of important thoughts whose pages are constantly turning. Not only does journaling prevent your important mental notes from being lost, but it also improves your thinking. Setting aside time to journal quiets your mind so you can think more clearly. This is what research funded by The National Institute of Mental Health...
Leading Beyond Your Authority

Leading Beyond Your Authority

In today’s complex and dotted-line organizational culture, your job frequently requires buy-in from people outside your direct authority. Influencing people who report to someone else can prove daunting—and an even greater challenge if you confuse the principles of leadership and authority. (They’re not the same.) Contrary to what you may have learned in leadership training, you can effectively guide people who are outside your realm of authority. To do so, you must understand what leadership truly is and how it appears to those who are looking for it. The traditional model of leadership requires control (authority) to “make” people do what they need to do. Pulling rank, so the thinking goes, forces them to fall in line and meet goals and objectives. Fortunately, this has become an outdated philosophy that, we have come to realize, ignores basic human behavior. Leadership vs. Authority People apply themselves and do their best when they want to, not when they’re forced to. From a motivational standpoint, they seek interest, satisfaction, purpose, inspiration and personal reward. Having a sense of value and accomplishment encourages engagement—a virtually impossible prospect when they feel they’re being controlled. Leadership fosters inspiration, whereas authority produces obligation. Authority is the supervisory responsibility to direct, decide and delegate. It is sometimes misused for personal gain. In contrast, leadership establishes goals or visions and inspires people to achieve them—a process accomplished through influence. Those influenced positively will follow willingly (the essence of true leadership). Leadership success depends on knowing how to influence people and breed a desire to follow (as opposed to trying to mandate it via formal authority). Following a leader...