Here are some leadership exercises you can try whenever you have time:
- Influence: Think of any ongoing situation in your life, where you are finding it difficult to create an influence. Spend some time thinking of all the people involved in that situation, and their perspectives. Think of all that has been done to resolve the issue. What are the patterns? Where do things come to a standstill? Look at the patterns in your own initiative, and see where you can break them to approach things from a different angle. Try it out. Share what happens.
- Spread appreciation: Most of the time, we really look at people only when there is a problem. It is a crisis response. How can we move to a more proactive way of being? Look at all the people you interact with, your team, your peers, your superiors. What are the good things you see about them? Take time out everyday to speak with one or two people to appreciate what they do.
- Give attention: Identify people you hear little from. Make it a point to pay attention to them. Really listen. Don’t be in a hurry to move on, if there seems nothing being said initially. What is the understanding you get from them? How do you think they see their life in the organization? How do they see their relationship with you? Do they seem happy? Be curious. Find out. Check back with them any impressions you get.
- Create a culture around something trivial: May be a cricket match after work, or singing in the coffee breaks, or whatever. Create an informal space that people can count on. A space where they can be themselves without any performance anxiety. A space where they can be reassured about their place in the community of the organization. A friend has weekly “creative space” where they may do anything creative in an hour set aside for it. Poetry, group collages, music making from office articles, spontaneous poetry, dumb charades….. anything that is created on the spot. Employees have been known to come in on their day off simply to attend that hour.
- Make your stand clear: There are difficult things that need said. Sometimes, its easy to sugarcoat them so much, that they become ambiguous, leading to mixed messages. Was that office picnic mandatory? Do we have to present ideas or final presentations on that difficult subject in the next meeting? Find something critical that will gain from clarity, and make things clear. Don’t go around with an entire list from all time ever to clarify. Identify one thing that seems the most important in current circumstances and give it full focus.
- Network: Network with other leaders informally, and see how they look at things. Share insights, absorb what seems to be the most important for them, ask for insights to things that get you stuck, talk out new ideas…..
Each of these things can be tried out any time, and probably incorporated into your routine. Try them out.
This is another list which sounds nice to read, but it is only doing that is going to help you gain from it.
- What are the results you got?
- What are the quick things you do as a leader to maximize your impact?