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The Unlit Leader

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I’m on the second floor in my home office searching for my wireless headphones. I’ve looked everywhere and was positive I left them on my desk charging. I did this so that I wouldn’t forget them when it was time for my workout. I’m already 10 minutes late for the gym, and I hate being late. “Quiana!” I scream downstairs. “Have you seen my headphones?” “Ask your sons!” My wife yells back. My response is directed at my twin teenage sons, “Boys! Have you seen my headphones?” One of my sons responds, “What headphones?” This response, of course, is my first indication that he not only knows where the headphones are but likely has them. After a couple of questions back and forth, one of my sons produces the headphones from their bedroom. “Oh, I forgot, I had them on while cutting grass.” My son responds. After a stern reminder…

Journaling is one of those tools that I wish I had known about early in my leadership journey. As a young man, the idea of journaling conjured images of teenagers with diaries hidden under their beds. Later I began to associate the act of journaling as a practice used by mental health therapists. Though both are probably accurate, I recently started to understand the benefit of journaling for leaders, specifically those looking to increase their self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Table of Contents What is journalingThe benefit of journaling How to get started journalingJournaling FAQaTop leadership journalsMy top journaling tips for leadersFinal Thoughts What is Journaling? Though I don’t think about the teenager with the diary hidden under the bed anymore, the concept of journaling isn’t that different. The act of journaling allows a person to transfer their thoughts, feelings, and experiences onto paper. Journaling is a great way to keep…

I often discuss the importance of leaders utilizing all tools at their disposal to increase their effectiveness. In my recent blog, I discuss holistic health and the benefits of adding a holistic approach to the leader’s lifestyle. I want to provide another hidden gem for leaders, business owners, entrepreneurs, etc., leader mindfulness for this article. What is leader mindfulness? The term “mindfulness” refers to the practice of being completely aware and in the moment. A mindful person pays attention to what is happening around them both mentally and physically in a nonjudgmental way. Now apply this concept to your role as a leader; you will be more effective if you can focus your mind and slow down the million and one things going on around you to genuinely see and understand what is happening around you. When I envision mastering mindfulness, I envision Neo when he was finally able to…

The concept of holistic health has gained popularity in recent years. It’s one of the latest buzz words that conjure images of sitting crossed legged, meditating with your eyes closed in a lush green field. Or the woman standing on one foot in an impossibly unbalancing yoga pose as she looks out at sea. As these images cross your mind, you are probably wondering, what in the world does this new age Tom Cruise foolery have to do with making me a better leader. Well, I’m hoping to shed some light on what are holistic health tips for leaders. By the end of this article, you understand the importance of holistic health and how it can help you maximize your leadership skills.  Before we begin, leaders should understand What is holistic health? What are holistic health benefits?How can you start incorporating holistic health into your life? Holistic health is not any…

Are you ready for our 2022 Leadership Book Challenge? If you follow Unlit Leadership, you know that I am all about leader self-development. A key to self-development is increasing your knowledge. What better way to enhance and expand our expertise than to commit to reading and learning more during 2022?  Why is reading so important to leader self-development? Great leaders know that they are seldom the most intelligent person in the room. If they are, then that leader lacks the experience to recognize the importance of surrounding themselves with brilliant individuals. We understand that we should always look for ways to better ourselves, whether through surrounding ourselves with those that challenge us, taking on tasks that place us out of our comfort zone, or taking time to improve on our own. Reading is one of the secret weapons of the leader striving to self-develop. Reading makes it easier for your…

The ability to effectively communicate is a skill that is required in all types of relationships, whether family, work, or community. For a leader or manager, clearly and effectively communicating is not just essential but required. I’m not alone in this belief. According to a 2020 study in project.co, 96% of people think the businesses they deal with could improve when it comes to communication and project management. Another stat revealed that 92% of people have had to repeat a piece of information to two or more people within an organization. Despite the importance of leaders and managers possessing strong communication skills, organizations struggle to communicate effectively. According to HR Technologies, 57% of employees report that they are not being given clear directions, and 69% of managers are not comfortable communicating with the employees in general. As a result of stats like these, there is no shortage of books, research, and blog articles dedicated…

I consider myself an ambivert, equal parts introvert and extrovert. Though this may sound ideal, having the best of both worlds, I also experience the drawbacks of both. I get that itch to be around people, as well as the social exhaustion from too much socializing. As the U.S. attempts to work their way towards the new normal and social engagement have increased, I am beginning to feel the effects of my introverted side. If you are anything like me when returning from a social engagement, you need recovery time. So for the morning’s quickie, I will provide my fellow introverted leaders four tips for dealing with social exhaustion. Quickie Round-Up What is social exhaustion? You may have read or heard terms such as social burnout, social exhaustion or even the introvert hangover. In essence, these terms are all the same, but what do they mean? In a recent article…

Why do I focus so much on the concept of emotional intelligence or the emotion quotient (EQ)? Increasing your emotional intelligence and learning to harness EQ to better yourself, your team, and your organization is critical to your success as a diverse leader. However, for leaders to increase and capitalize on EQ, they must regularly focus on and practice specific habits. EQ and Diversity For the slightly different leader, whether it’s the young executive that’s ten years junior to the rest of his work peers, the one female programming lead amongst the group techies or one of the three minority leaders out the group of 100 leaders managing insurance firms. We must learn how to maximize our unique backgrounds, talents, and experiences to guide, influence, and motivate others. Emotional intelligence is the diverse leader’s key to success in maximizing the potential of their team and their own. There are four…

Working groups are a great way to bring together professionals with similar interests and collaborate. The nature of working groups means they can often lack structure and clear goals. The goal is to have everyone bring in their unique expertise and knowledge so that together they can develop a solution that fits your needs and the needs of those who signed up for it. My experience with working groups Recruiting and retaining quality cyber warrant officers are just a couple of my many responsibilities. When I first arrived at my current job, my office tasked me to provide solutions on acquiring and then retaining the best cyber talent for the Army Cyber Warrant Officer Cohort. I knew that I could not accomplish this task in a bubble, and despite my expertise, I decided to reach out to several leaders who would help develop viable solutions. I set up a working…

If you read, follow or subscribe to any leadership or business blogs or magazines, you know that there is a common consensus that organizations understand the importance of self awareness for leaders. Former Forbes contributor, Victor Lipman, states that “you can’t be a really an effective executive if you’re not fully aware of the effect your actions and personality have on others”. Though Lipman focuses on executives, his statement applies to leaders in the home, work, and community. As mentioned by Randy Grieser from The Ordinary Leader, “Strong leaders must know and understand themselves.” If there is a consensus that organizations require self-aware leaders, then we should assume that most leaders out there are genuinely self-aware. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, at least not according to Tasha Eurich, who discusses self-awareness in her book Insight. Her studies and research found that 95% of people think they’re self-aware, but only 10-15%…

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