Many people are working from home, and if they are anything like me, they are going a little bit stir crazy. If you are looking for something meaningful to do that will have a positive impact on your self-esteem, confidence, and career, may I suggest developing a leadership skill? I examined data from over 100,000 leaders and discovered that developing just one skill can have a profound impact. People with no profound strengths have an average overall effectiveness rating at the 29th percentile. But, if they have just one profound strength (e.g., a skill or individual behavior at the 90th percentile), their overall effectiveness increases 22 percentile points to the 52nd percentile. Performing one skill very well can move your overall effectiveness from poor to good. Anyone of the 15 listed below can have a significant impact.
1. Practice active listening. Most people don’t do this well and aren’t aware of it. After your next conversation, ask the person who you were listening to how well they thought you listened and what you could do better.
2. Make an emotional connection. We are conditioned to jump into our work. Often, people will avoid personal conversations, touching base with others, or even offering a pleasant hello. We are so busy that we feel this can be a waste of time. Most employees are willing to work harder and do more for someone they feel has their best interest at heart.
3. Identify one project you need to start and get started. Taking the initiative is an impressive skill. Most people have a list of projects that need to be done but never get started. Identify an urgent project and start working because getting started is the hardest part.
4. Give more positive feedback to others. In a study of 14,000 people, we found that 37% avoided giving positive feedback, and 63% preferred to give negative or corrective feedback. Look for opportunities every day to tell others they did an excellent job and thank them for their contribution. This is easy to do, but often we are so busy that we forget. Say thank you and show appreciation for others!
5. Find a persistent, nagging problem and fix it. It is amazing how long people will put up with problems or inefficient procedures when solutions are not that difficult to achieve. Inertia keeps us doing the same thing in the same way, even when there is a better way.
6. Help someone develop a new skill. One of the most fulfilling things a person can do for themselves is to help another person develop or learn a new skill. Working at home can provide some excellent opportunities to help your children learn a new skill.
7. Connect something you want others to do to a long-term strategy and direction. Often, we ask others to do particular work because it has always been done. When we connect our work to how it will help the organization achieve its goals and purpose, motivation increases.
8. Identify one thing you ought to change to be more effective. It takes courage to change, but life continues to provide new challenges that require new skills. What skill would help you to be more productive, efficient, or effective?
9. Create a specific plan for improving that one thing. Sometimes we resolve to improve, but we don’t create a plan with actions, desired outcomes, and benchmark dates to evaluate progress. One way of ensuring that the plan will be followed is to share that plan with another person who will hold you accountable.
10. Ask others for feedback. Those people who have a regular habit of asking others for feedback and then acting on the feedback end up being much more effective and successful. Others can see things we need to improve that we miss or avoid noticing. Once you get feedback, be sure to say thank you, and you may get more in the future.
11. Set a goal that is difficult and will force you to stretch. Most of us avoid stretch goals because we feel a bit overwhelmed, but for many people right now, life has slowed down a bit. Stretching for something difficult makes people feel better about themselves and less helpless.
12. Show your passion and get others excited about something that needs to be done. Your passion and excitement are contagious to others. Your excitement will excite others.
13. Demonstrate your concern for another person. Connect deeply with another person. Show them that you care and that you want to help. If you think about it, several people will pop into your mind that need your support or encouragement.
14. Look for additional opportunities to cooperate with others and get groups working together. Right now, we need to pull together.
15. Make three additional calls every day to check in with others and make sure that all is well.
If you take the time and make an effort to change yourself, you can change your world.