Spark

See what it takes to be a spark and inspire those around you into action.

Usually, when someone thinks about leaderd016ship, they see someone who holds a high position and has a very impressive monthly salary. These people are often looked at as a rare species; people who have a natural talent and an affinity for maintaining power.

In this article, however, we’ll uncover another fact; leaders aren’t outlined based on their position, but instead, on their behavior. This means that leaders are people that are able to generate a spark, regardless of the level in a company, with the help of their innovative actions and encouraging commitment.

Figure out what it takes in order to create that spark and see how it can impact a company, such as how it can assist staff members with being the best form of themselves.

In addition, you’ll find out:

  • How to find solutions to any problems in the workplace through a malfunctioning toaster.
  • How to decrease your say-do gap.
  • Why you need to make sure that you don’t go to a meeting with an empty stomach.

Sparks are dynamic and inspirational leaders who are desperately needed these days.

Most likely, if your company provided every staff member with leadership training, regardless of whether they’re a janitor, a salesperson, or a mail clerk, you’d most likely feel as if they were wasting their money. This is actually how many would feel.

The majority of businesses usually save those leadership training moments for whenever someone gets promoted to a more managerial position. The thing is, though, those companies don’t see how beneficial leadership skills are for true leaders across all organizational levels. In other words, they aren’t only beneficial for managers.

Those true leaders are called sparks since their actions are able to make sparks of inspiration. Those are the people who are always ready to take some kind of action so that things get better. Even though we usually assume leaders hold positions such as CEO, manager, or a supervisor, a spark can be located at any level of a company.

Angie Morgan, one of the authors, had a great colleague when she had worked in sales at a pharmaceutical company. That coworker was well educated, had good communication skills, and every quarter, exceeded the sales quotas. Coworkers, as well as clients, really liked working with her and new staff members often looked up to her as a role model.

Whenever Morgan had told her that she was a good leader, that coworker attempted to straighten it out by stating that she was merely an employee. The thing is, though, a spark is much more than just their job title. In fact, they are always leaders.

Angie’s colleague was the type of spark that businesses needed a lot more of.

Since both the marketplace and the workplace is constantly changing, companies need to enlist innovative staff members if they want to remain competitive. Regardless, many of them think that updating their procedures and hardware is enough. However, updating your personnel is just as important. In fact, if they truly want to remain both innovative and creative, sparks are imperative at every level as they are motivated and able to provide you with great results.

Since you now know what a spark is and how crucial they are, let’s take a look at how you are able to turn into one yourself.

A spark can use creative thinking to form better relationships and make better decisions.

If you had just had a quarrel with a staff member, most likely, you won’t be in a rush to sit with them at lunch. The majority of us instincity, strive to stay clear of possible, unpleasant situations. That is, everyone but sparks.

Instead of avoiding confrontation, on the contrary, sparks utilize cognitive flexibility in order to make the most out of an unpleasant social situation.

Cognitive flexibility is one way that you can change your typical thinking patterns in order to find a solution to issues. We actually use this method when it comes to solving technical problems. For instance, when your toaster breaks, you initially begin by coming up with other ways that you can toast your bread by, say, the oven, the stove, or maybe even your clothing iron!

Sparks put to use those exact rules when it comes to personal relationships in order to look at things from another perspective.

Someone who had worked with the authors had once struggled with a colleague that she had found to be incredibly stubborn and very sensitive. However, one day, she attempted to look at it from another perspective. That form of cognitive flexibility showed her that she was actually giving that colleague feedback in a harsh way. Therefore, as soon as she altered how she communicated, her colleague and herself were able to work on creating a successful working relationship.

Cognitive discipline is another spark tool. It’s very useful if you've got a habit of constantly depending on your first instinct, regardless of whether it’s good or not. It revolves around slowing your impulsive actions and instead, using instinctive reactions that are accompanied by more intelligent and effective responses.

Suppose your clothes caught on fire all of a sudden. Based on your instinct, you’d most likely run until you found water which would, in turn, get the fire to spread, making things worse. In this situation, cognitive discipline would make us stop, drop, and roll. In other words, we’d stop moving, drop to the floor, and then roll back and forth in order to put out the fire.

We can utilize cognitive discipline in order to enhance our performance in the workplace. For instance, when we receive criticism, instinctively, we may get defensive or angry, but in the end, that would only worsen things. Therefore, by utilizing cognitive discipline, just as sparks would, you can teach yourself to respond in a constructive manner, asking for well-defined examples of how you can make improvements.

Sparks know the importance and benefit of establishing and sticking to strong values.

There really isn’t anyone who wants to have a leader that’s hypocritical because after all, it’s quite difficult understanding them when they say one thing but then do another. Therefore, if you’d like to be a spark, it’s imperative that you set defined values and then follow them.

It’s advantageous to have strong core values, especially in regards to decision making. As long as you understand where you stand, it’ll be simple for you to make the correct choice.

For instance, in the future, you’ll get some job offers, therefore, you’ll want to figure out whether or not they’d be right for you. Granted you’ve established a strong set of core values, after having researched the organization’s policies and practices, you’ll immediately know whether or not they go hand in hand with your own ones.

The authors had actually known a woman who had taken a position within a company because it was both successful and world-renowned. That being said, they had a very impersonal workplace and they didn’t care too much about their staff members, even if, for instance, they had gotten into a car accident. She, unfortunately, had learned that the hard way.

In other words, she was very unhappy with her work. In order to steer clear from a situation similar to hers, it’s important that you have a good understanding of your core values. As a result, you’ll be able to make the right decisions.

Don’t forget, though, that by being conscious of your core values, you are also accompanied by the vital responsibility of always remaining true to them. For instance, if your employees only witness you following your values at times when it's most convenient, then they won’t trust you and most likely, they’ll think that you only ever act on your best interest, regardless of whether or not it goes back on their own.

If you feel that a minor deviation from it is insignificant, others may still view it as an obvious act of hypocrisy. Therefore, if you think that it’s crucial to have a healthy balance between both work and relaxation, but then all of a sudden you expect your staff to work on Sundays, don’t be alarmed when they start finding you untrustworthy.

It’s smart to take a few of your recent actions and analyze whether or not they go against your values that way you can ensure that you’re consistent with your words and actions.

Sparks value the expectations of others and the ability to follow through on commitments.

Isn’t it annoying whenever people state that they’ll follow up with you, but in the long run they never actually do? Why say something when you definitely won’t do it anyways?

Sparks are nothing like that. On the contrary, they value being both reliable and credible with the things that they say. They understand that people will have a lot more respect for a leader that keeps their word.

If you constantly fail to go on with your commitments, there’s no way that you can expect your employees to do the same, can you? As a result, it’s crucial that you establish accurate expectations and follow through with them.

There are two different kinds of expectations at work. Firstly, there are those standards that are precisely communicated. You can find them in your job description or they’ve been agreed upon with the rest of your staff members.

Secondly, there are those expectations that are unspoken. They aren’t written down anywhere or haven’t been spoken by your boss. Regardless, they are crucial in order to make sure that everyone sees you in a good way.

You are able to uncover those unspoken expectations when you keep the lines of communication open.

When Courtney Lynch had been in the Marines, she had been stationed in Japan. There, the first thing that she had done was reach out and speak with her employees and even their families. That kind of openness had given one of the wives in the army staff a chance to let her know that the events that bring together army families together could use some improvements. She had made some alterations and that positively affected their morale. If Lynch hadn’t opened up the lines of communication like that, she would’ve never found out about that need for change.

Another thing that you need to pay attention to is your say-do gap. That’s the discrepancy between what you say that you’ll do and then what it is that you actually end up doing. Therefore, you need to make sure that it’s as little as possible.

Should someone tell you to expect a document on Friday, but then you don’t even get it until next Thursday, you’ll find the situation to be pretty annoying. It would be even more annoying if you were told that the document was going to be ready for publishing, but then you find that it has a lot of errors and the format is terrible. As a result, you most likely wouldn’t want to work with that person once more.

Sparks make the promises that they keep and as a result, they inspire other people to do the same quality work.

It’s not easy to admit mistakes, but sparks take responsibility to make things better.

Too often, we find people blaming one another instead of taking the blame. For instance, if someone gets a bad grade then it’s the fault of the teacher or if someone doesn’t get the job then it’s due to the fact that the hiring manager was biased.

The thing is, there is actually a very natural explanation for that kind of avoidance of responsibility.

For starters, we’ve got a physiological reaction to anything that is threatening, therefore, as a result, we deflect the blame as a form of a survival mechanism.

Therefore, whenever the boss states that they’re not happy with last month’s performance, your natural answer to that is seeing it as a threat to your state of mind, which is why you come up with excuses such as your sick child or the company setting expectations that aren’t fair.

Both fear and shame impact whether or not your instinctive defences kick in whenever your boss tells you that based on recent reports, your work has been lacking. Once again, naturally you deflect the blame onto a coworker for giving you faulty data, for instance.

Sparks, though, understand that blaming other people or making excuses for it won’t solve the problem, but taking responsibility for it will.

Should there be an issue, you’ve got to get to the heart of it by initially accepting the fact that you may at least partially be responsible for what had caused the issue. At that point, you able to get the company on the road towards recovery by fixing what had gone wrong and then ensuring that it won’t happen once more.

The authors run Lead Star, which is a consultancy firm. Whenever the business was going well, they had hired a new salesperson to deal with all of the new clients. However, when they did so, they noticed that the sales had actually started to drop and new training sessions stopped getting booked.

Although they could’ve blamed it on the new salesperson, instead they took a look at their actions and figured out that the clients would rather talk with them versus a new representative. Therefore, they restructured everything and took on the previous roles of handling interactions with customers. As a result, business was going well once more.

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