Smart Leadership in the 21st Century

Although we may claim that the world has gravitates from authoritarian rulership and that most countries in the world operate under a democratic ambience, but in certain parts of the world and over certain organisations preside some leaders who still lord over their followers without giving them a say at all in the affairs.

Every nation and society has its own leader, but what distinguishes the smart leaders in the world today from the bosses and the not-so-smart leaders? Consider the following traits.

The first trait of the smart leader in the 21st Century is that the leader has to EVOLVE. He should keep up with the times, with the latest techniques and updated information. Knowledge is power and the knowledgeable leader is not one that can be easily deceived or pushed about. The societies that use the most advanced methods in everyday life are the ones that lead the pack in today’s world.

In addition, the SMART leader is:

S- Simple/Straightforward: The good leader has to mean what he says, and say what he means. He must not be deceitful. His followers must be able to trust him and take his word for it in every circumstance. What he does not intend to do, he should determine not to say it. Also, the smart leader in this century must be a man of simple ways, words and lifestyle.
Gone are the days when leaders were marked by 100-foot billowy robes, with twenty servants carrying the clothes from behind. This can be tolerated from a bride in a wedding ceremony, but not from the world-class 21st Century leader. He should not live a complicated lifestyle or be unnecessarily extravagant. Simplicity does it these days.

M- Malleable: As mentioned earlier, the smart leader must be malleable, not rigid. He must be able to bend his views when it is necessary. He should be able to lower his standards when it is necessary.
Compromising your views at certain times is not a trait of the weak, but that of the intelligent. He should not insist on the status quo, or cling to ideas just because “that’s the norm here!” The norm is usually dumb. He must have a teachable heart that can learn new information at every opportunity. He must be malleable enough to learn from both young and old, rich and poor, male and female-anybody.

A- Accountable: Aha! Did the smart leader expect I won’t add this? It is inescapable for the smart leader to be accountable for all the human and other resources committed to his care. He must not be corrupt. Every penny in his administration must be accounted for. He must guard his citizens and his domain with the same intensity as well.

R- Resourceful: The leader must also be one with a limitless river of ideas constantly flowing for the betterment of his organisation. He must be very creative and actually SMART. As in, really intelligent. If a dumb leader is put over a domain, he will mismanage and diminish it. The leader must be able to multiply the little he has been committed with, and multiply it. He must commit to being constantly trained in order to further equip his intellectual arsenal.

T- Technology Literate: Finally, in this Internet Age, many wars are won or lost on social media. The smart leader in the 21st Century must be one who is very much versed in at least some high-tech devices. He must not be an illiterate with the computer or with the internet. He must make it a point of duty to learn the use of one new technological gadget every six months. That will set him apart and make him the man/woman to beat by the other leaders. He will find out pretty soon that he is a trail blazer in leadership. It does not matter whether he is presiding over a family or over an entire nation, such person will be a trail blazer.

Emmanuel Sokefun is a freelance article writer, in addition to being a novelist, poet, hymnist, songwriter and a lover of the academia.

Why You Should Stop Boasting About How Busy You Are

An Accomplished Life

“Hi Tom, how are you?”

“I’m well Jane, just extremely busy.”

“Oh, I’m glad to hear you’re keeping busy then.”

“Yes, I’m flat out at the moment.”

The above interaction is one that takes place between people on a daily basis.

But what is behind the busyness?

Is it a way to deflect attention from what really matters?

People brag about their busy lives to highlight themselves living an accomplished life to their peers.

Similarly, they may wish to communicate how meaningful their work is and so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Being occupied implies oneself is consumed with matters of significance. That is why people state their busyness, to have you know they are important.

Busy people struggle to keep their attention in the present moment because their focus lies in future events and planning for the next project.

“We become active and busy, but this doesn’t actually move us any closer to success. Activity is often unrelated to productivity, and busyness rarely takes care of business,” states authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.

I question those who have a hectic schedule as a method to divert their attention from connecting with their core self.

The title quote by the Greek philosopher Socrates, invites you to be wary of a busy life which can be barren.

The busy person is disconnected from others, simply because their attention is focussed on their own commitments. There is the impression of a purposeless life, masked behind the facade of a frantic lifestyle.

Busyness can be reframed to imply your pursuits are purposeful instead of busy.

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan affirm, “Don’t focus on being busy; focus on being productive. Allow what matters most to drive your day.”

Busy or Just Unproductive?

You can be busy but not productive and still chase your tail.

Beneath the busyness lies the unconscious desire to be rewarded for hard work.

People believe being preoccupied is impressive and associated with status. You must be pursuing something prestigious, otherwise you wouldn’t be busy.

I’m reminded of an episode in the Seinfeld sitcom where the character George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander, walks around the office looking annoyed. He realises that being busy is associated with stress and works hard to uphold this facade.

He appears irritated, causing his supervisor; Mr. Wilhelm to fear George is cracking under the pressure of his work.

While this scenario is fictional, it shows how people unconsciously use busyness to draw attention to themselves.

Similarly, you may believe multitasking is indicative of productivity. Busyness implies being on top of things which is often the furthest thing from the truth.

“Productivity isn’t about being a workhorse, keeping busy or burning the midnight oil… It’s more about priorities, planning, and fiercely protecting your time,” affirms associate editor at Psych Central, Margarita Tartakovsky.

The busy pandemic comes at a cost to people’s well-being and happiness. You may find it difficult to disconnect from work to spend time with family. These are the pursuits that rejuvenate you instead of deplete you.

Busyness can be a sign of procrastination. It is a smoke screen to cover up being overwhelmed and in need of help to prioritise your life.

Consequently, those in the creative field will tell you they are absorbed in their interests and not busy with work.

It was the late Stephen R Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People who said, “It is possible to be busy-very busy-without being very effective.”

The Demands of a Hectic Schedule

It is vital that you set clear boundaries if you wish to be fulfilled. Busy people find it difficult to say no since they do not wish to offend others or be seen as incapable.

I’m yet to meet a busy person satisfied with their hectic schedule. I’m certain they would trade their frantic life for: less work, more time and money.

Occasionally, you might be pulled by circumstances not of your choosing. Business may unexpectedly increase if you’re self-employed as you try to meet the pressures of growing sales. But that doesn’t mean you are happy if all you are doing is working to provide for the demands of other people.

You have a choice how you spend your time. To claim you are busy is failing to prioritise your time wisely.

“Everybody’s busy. Everyone does the actions. But were they the right actions? Were those actions productive? Did you take a step forward? These are questions that most people never take the time to think about,” reminds us author Jeff Olson in, The Slight Edge.

After all, what is the point of being busy and stressed to the point of exhaustion that your health and relationships suffer, just to improve your bottom line?

Surely, there’s a more efficient way to work in the 21 century while enjoying more leisure time?

Busy people are prone to being overwhelmed if they continue to drive themselves hard. It is not healthy to run yourself into the ground and expect to stop at the drop of a hat.

Something must give. That may be as excessive drinking to help you wind down or toxic behaviours such as: compulsive eating, gambling or whatever distracts you from what is important.

We all have the same hours in the day and how you spend it is entirely up to you. Many people squander their time running around believing they are productive, when they are simply busy due to their lack of organisation and prioritisation.

“We are so busy being enticed by our next endeavour that we forget to savour what is already there and could be deeply meaningful. It is useful to remember the adage “The more things change, the more they remain the same” avows author Bernard Roth in, The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life.

A better way to reframe busyness is to state you are productive or engaged in what you are doing. Conversely, communicating you have taken on more than you can handle, is a step towards reclaiming your lost time.

This is not a cry for help, but exposing your vulnerability to those willing to help you better manage your time.

Find ways to be less busy and more engaged so you are in Flow, as the Hungarian psychology Professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi espouses.

Busyness is a not indicative of a rewarding life if all you are doing is jumping from one task to the next.

Those who manage their time successfully hold on to it like it was their last breath. They prioritise what is important and so should you.

I invite you to think with the end in mind as Stephen R. Covey conveys in his teachings.

Only then will you appreciate what really matters and worth devoting your time and energy towards.

Brainstorming To Start A Small Business – Questions To Answer

Hello readers and potential future entrepreneurs. I understand the feeling; desire to create, operate, and succeed. Throughout my professional career, I have learned that there are numerous steps that must be taken in order to organize opening and operating a small business. I have put together a few questions which aspiring entrepreneurs should, at the very least, consider reading over. There are many questions that may arise with opening a small business, and I will address a few of those questions briefly in the following list of questions one may ask while brainstorming.

What type of business do you want to open? There are various business endeavors an entrepreneur could involve themselves in. It all comes down to what knowledge one has, or is willing to obtain. Are you a restaurateur? Repairman? Plumber? Home health / assistance? Do you have experience managing or working at such establishments? Do you need formal education from an institution? Will you work as a sole proprietor, or a partner / member? Research limited liability corporations (LLCs) in addition to sole proprietorships and partnerships. S corporations are another option, but they are for business with stockholders, and may not be right for your particular business application.

What kinds of licensing and/or permits are required? Each business will have different licensing requirements; it all comes down to what the entrepreneur ultimately chooses to do. A restaurant would need food safety licensing in addition to basic business licensing, and if alcohol is on the menu – there is another permit the entrepreneur would need to legally sell alcohol on the premises. Repair oriented businesses would need at least the business license to repair, but if they sell parts as well, they would need to have “retail” listed on their business license in addition to “repair”. Health care services require at least formal education and licensing as an LPN, RN, or one of several other health care related licenses. Be sure to check your state’s laws to ensure what is necessary to operate your type of business.

What training / education / certifications are required to legally run this business? We touched upon this in licensing / permits, however there is much more involved than the required licensing. For example, one cannot operate a vehicle collision repair business without the knowledge of performing those types of repairs. There are schools that can be attended to learn what must be learned to effectively operate nearly any kind of business. However, there are also businesses where experience is enough to operate effectively without needing any formal education (lawn care, house cleaning just to name a couple). Also, there are certifications for training in nearly, if not all, care industries.

Does this business require a storefront? Retail establishments will undoubtedly need a storefront. Bear in mind, retail business will have a much larger initial investment than a service based operation. That initial investment is inventory. Some service businesses may not need a storefront to operate, as much of the service performed could very well be on-site. If a storefront is necessary, be sure to consider delivery or on-site service if it is feasible for your operation.

How much will it cost? This number will vary wildly based on the type and size of business you are planning. For smaller businesses, this number could be as low as $200 for a license and/or permit, or as high as a million dollars or more. Obviously, inventory is very expensive, and so are specialized tools for performing extremely precise work. Calculate the expected opening and operating expenses. Determine what size storefront is needed (if applicable), and research local commercial realty properties, locations, and prices. It is absolutely cheaper to rent in the short-term, although the thought of owning property that is paid off is very tempting. Prices on most things will vary based on your location. Employees are another cost, if your business warrants employees. When employees come into the equation as opposed to sole proprietors or partnerships, one must add extra insurance for the business (unemployment insurance comes to mind). Check with your selected insurance company for which types of additional coverage are required, and if offering health insurance can be done reasonably. Those employees will also need to have taxes paid on their wages – part from the employee’s paycheck and part from the company. Another potential cost is repayment of loans, if you don’t already have the capital needed to open your business. Basic operating expenses are not to be forgotten, as heating/cooling, Internet connectivity, and utilities will be regular expenditures for any storefront. On-site service operations cost very little when compared to a physical storefront.

How can an individual pay for this? If you do not have the funds available, which is very common, applying for loans is a way to attain funding. Be sure to have a business plan with projected expenses and revenues. There are other ways to gain funds for a business. Look into grants. While they are not very common, they are a potential source for assistance nonetheless. If many people believe in your dream, one could possibly acquire donations from those individuals.

What about accounting? Bookkeeping is a necessity – research which accounting/bookkeeping software would work best for the type of business you are planning. Point-of-sale (POS) systems are needed for “ringing up” and selling inventory or goods to the customer. POS systems keep track of sales, sales taxes, employee labor dollars spent, and many other items. If you are apt at creating spreadsheets, you may be able to keep track of your own inventory depending on your particular business model.

I hope this brief listing of questions and potential answers has been of assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs. Although there are countless successful entrepreneurs who have little or no formal education in business, it is never a bad idea to research courses regarding administration and management. Be sure to take a look at the Small Business Administration’s website at http://www.SBA.gov for more helpful information.

The author, Johnathan Baker, is an educated entrepreneur, with over ten years of experience in small business administration and management. Opening any type of business is no simple task, as many things must be considered. With experience opening, operating, and managing small businesses, the author aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs in realizing their dreams. While the questions are not all inclusive, they are, at the very least, a good bit of information to consider throughout the beginning processes of opening a small business. Take the information provided and begin or continue working on your business plan on the road to entrepreneurship.

Social Media: Why Do Some People Look Towards Social Media To Give Them Approval?

In the beginning, it could be said that people generally used social media to get in touch with their friends and family; the people who they actually knew. But as time has passed, this is no longer why a lot of people use it.

As for the people who only use it to stay in touch with their friends and family, it is likely to be no different to how it was when they first started using it. Now, they might notice that the site they use no longer looks the same as it did or that others use it differently, but that could be as far as it goes.

Friends

If one only added people who they knew when they first started, there is the chance that this is no longer the case. Even if they have only met someone once, they could still end up adding them to their ‘friends’ list.

When this takes place, they might only be thinking about how this will have an effect on how other people perceive them. For example, if one has a certain number of ‘friends’, they can end up being seen as popular.

One Purpose

What this can then show is they are more concerned with how they look than they are with connecting to others. This doesn’t mean that they won’t talk to others; it just means that it is unlikely to be their priority.

And if one has this approach when they go online, there is a strong chance that they have a lot of ‘friends’ who are just the same. In addition to this, it might also be important for them to look right in other ways.

The Perfect Life

What this can then mean is that they will want other people to believe that they live the ultimate life. As a result of this, they are going to have to be very careful when it comes to what they share.

It will be vital for them to share pictures where they are having a good time, and being in exotic locations will also help. If one looks as though they are enjoying themselves in a warm country, it can be normal for people to believe that they lead a good life.

The Right Image

Along with this, one can also have the need to look right, and this is going to be relatively easy. Not only can they choose what pictures to upload; they can also change how they look.

Through using the right angle and the right light, one can take pictures where they look their best. Once this has taken place, one can make a few major or minor changes to the images.

An Act

In this sense, it might be accurate to say that when one uses social media, they are putting on a performance. This is their stage, and they are choosing to be someone who has their life together.

But like someone who acts in the real world, they are not going to be able to truly connect to anyone when they are playing a role. Who they are has been put to one side, and their needs are going to end up being unmet.

Approval

When one has this approach when they go online, it is likely to show that they have a strong need for approval. If their ‘friends’ don’t give them the kind of feedback that they need, they could end up being in a bad way.

However, this doesn’t mean that this is the only way they will come across when they are this way. For one thing, one might not try to create the impression that they lead the perfect life, and they might not even edit their pictures.

A Number of Ways

One could receive the approval they need through posting funny videos or memes that make people think about the world differently. What this shows is that one is not going to need to rely on their appearance and neither are they are going to need to travel all the time.

And as long as they have some kind of device, it can allow them to receive approval whenever they need it. It is then not going to be necessary for them to delay gratification; they can fulfil this need instantly.

A Closer Look

When it comes to the people who behave in this way and the people who don’t, it is clear that there is a big difference. What this can show is that the people who do need a lot of approval are emotionally dependent on others.

As they are unable to handle how they feel, they need other people to regulate their inner world. But this is not the only thing that can be involved here; they can also be in a position where they haven’t got any close friends.

One Direction

If they had people around them who they were close to, they would be able to receive the approval and the validation they need from them. And through having the ability to regulate their inner world, they wouldn’t depend on other people to do it for them.

The reason one doesn’t experience life in this way and looks towards social media to give them approval can be the result of what took place during their early years. This could have been a time when they didn’t receive the kind of care that they need in order for their brain to develop in the right way.

Conclusion

The ability to regulate their emotions wouldn’t have developed, and this would have stopped them from feeling comfortable enough to reach out to others when they need them. Ultimately, no one is their own island, and this is why human beings need other people.

But when one doesn’t receive the right care, it can set them up to be dependent on others, or to go the other extreme and become extremely independent. What this emphasises is how important it is for children to be brought up in the right way, and for there to be help available when this doesn’t happen.

Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand two hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice. His current projects include ‘A Dialogue With The Heart’ and ‘Communication Made Easy’.