Chapter 6 Leadership Enablers – Project Management and Leadership Challenges, Volume III

Chapter 6

Leadership Enablers

Introduction

Enablers are the factors that effectively translate the strengths in competence and help leadership to perform at the next level. Find your interest areas to connect a task with it. One performs at peak when working in interest areas.

Capture the power of nature to support your intention when placed in a gap at the conscientious level.

Leadership is effective with high level of fitness in areas like physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual all together. Anyone lacking in a particular area or weaker may impact negatively on leadership behavior and efficacy.

The foundations of leadership need to be strengthened in areas like credibility, integrity, character, and attitude. The slightest weakness in any or all of the areas always shows up negatively, may be in a subtle way. Social skills are the need of the day and you just cannot show your existence when you lack in any area.


Objectives

How to find interest to align a task with it?

What are fitness dimensions?

What are core values that need to be strengthened?

Why social skills are necessary?

The following are enablers:

  • Your Fitness—Dimensions
    • Physical
    • Mental
    • Emotional
    • Spiritual
  • Managing the Core Values
    • Credibility
    • Integrity
    • Character
    • Attitude

Project management framework and systems provide an enabling environment for the development of leadership at all levels. The framework actively engages every team member to work on issues that affect the organization and their own growth. What facilitates everyone to become committed participants and move constructively toward the goals that makes a difference to the team outcomes?

An enabling environment helps team members continually test their own motivation and improve awareness on how their personality and behavior impacts positively on others.

Team members have confidence in their ability coupled with the humility to recognize that they have much to learn and continually improve the collective performance. Working as a team is preferred as this provides an effective vehicle for demonstrating value to everyone involved.

The environment may sound a bit too “warm and cozy,” which may be the case when everything is going as per the plan; however, team members are not afraid to constructively confront people who underachieve or are dysfunctional and thus adversely impact the outputs of the team. Whatever action needs to be taken is done so with concern for the team and the individuals involved as the aim is to have everyone “on the bus and in the right seat.”

The drive is to enroll everyone to be involved in a constructive process of teamwork to achieve agreed-upon goals in which they are self-motivated to play a full part. Maintaining a high-enabling environment is dependent on dealing with negative aspects continually. The environment that may discourage the enabling way must be watched carefully.

The Enemy of Enabling

  1. That people are mistreated on projects and leaders are demotivated to work together in constructive and collaborative ways.
  2. Research by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) reported that conflict at work is increasing as the number of employment disputes that resulted in tribunals increased by over 15 percent over the 2006 result. This clearly indicates that organizations are failing to create an environment in which all involved are able to make a contribution based on their ability and barriers to collaborative working.
  3. Strikes are another example of action being taken when those involved feel that their case has not been responded to in what they consider an appropriate way.
  4. Problems rest with the inherent weaknesses found in organizations that continue to be based on a traditional hierarchy.

The dynamic world economy needs a more constructive approach in line with project management frameworks.

6.1 Your Fitness—Dimensions

Personal development plays a vital part in a person’s growth and maturity. It is like nurturing a plant. Professionals give more importance to academic and skills achievement rather than personal growth. This has caused a lot of emotional struggles.

The components are spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, and social.

Project management needs leaders who have a personality that is mindful and compassionate enough to build complete fitness in all dimensions, noted as follows:

Personal development is a major timesaver. The better you become, the less time it takes you to achieve your goals

Brian Tracy

  1. Mental fitness
  2. Physical fitness
  3. Emotional fitness
  4. Spiritual fitness

Mental Fitness

Staying mentally fit makes a difference. Your brain isn’t a muscle, but you can treat it like one. Leaders need a strong body and a strong brain to withstand the fast-moving challenges in the PM profession and projects.

Many focus on physical fitness, but few know that brain fitness is also something you can work on. In fact, you can exercise your brain as often as you would your arms or abs—and the results can be positive and empowering.

It’s helpful to think of your brain as you would a muscle. To improve your brain, you can’t simply repeat the same exercises over and over. Just as lifting a two-pound weight will cease to challenge you, so will repetitive exercises such as crosswords or Sudoku. Once you master easy exercises, you must move on to harder ones in order to push your brain—like your muscles—to a new level.

This is based on your brain’s innate neuroplasticity or its ability to grow and change in response to new challenges. In other words, the right types of stimulating exercises can physically change your brain.

The Science behind Brain Training

Scientists once believed that the mental abilities were fixed in adulthood. Now that studies on neuroplasticity have shown just the opposite, millions of people around the world have adopted the new practice of brain training.

The most popular of these brain training products are made by San Francisco–based Lumosity, which employs a team of in-house neuroscientists. Realizing that brains need more sophisticated programs and guidance to grow and change, Lumosity’s scientists work with an experienced team of game designers. Together they’ve developed a fun, effective online brain training program that measures, tracks, and adapts to your progress so you’ll always be challenged.

Lumosity’s training algorithm and 40+ games are based on well-studied tests used in clinical neuropsychology research.

Promising Studies on the Effects of Brain Training

In a 2013 Stanford study, a treatment group of 21 breast cancer survivors used 12 weeks of Lumosity training to work on processing speed, mental flexibility, and working memory tasks. On average, those who trained improved on tests of these abilities, compared to a group that did not train with Lumosity.

There is even some preliminary evidence suggesting that Lumosity may be beneficial to normal, healthy adults. In a 2011 study by Lumosity and San Francisco State University researchers, 13 people who did Lumosity training over five weeks improved on tests of brain performance compared to a group that did not train. On average, those who trained improved working memory scores by 10 percent and attention scores by 20 percent.

Brain Training Is Designed to Address Real-Life Needs

The goal of brain training is not to improve game scores: It’s to improve the underlying core abilities that those games rely on. Neuroscientists like those at Lumosity design brain games meant to translate into real-life benefits; with continued testing and research, the body of evidence behind brain training continues to grow.

Better attention, for example, can mean greater focus in the classroom or at an important business meeting. With improved processing speed, you might react and adapt faster to the demands of a busy life. And a better memory could mean stronger, longer relationships with the people closest to you.

Brain Training Is an Investment

Training can take just a few minutes a day, but the rewards can make a difference in many aspects of life.

Lumosity is one of the first and most popular brain training programs in existence.

Mental fitness refers to a state of psychosocial well-being; it means having a positive sense of how we feel, think, and act, which improves our ability to enjoy life. It contributes to our innate ability to be self-determined.

Mental fitness is a state of mind in which we are open to enjoying our environment and the people in it, having the capacity to be creative and imaginative and to use our mental abilities to the fullest extent. It’s willingness to risk, to inquire and to question; and an attitude of acceptance of other points of view, and a willingness to learn and grow and change.

According to Paula Robinson, MD of Positive Psychology Institute: “Mental Fitness is a proactive, positive term without the negative connotations associated to mental health or mental illness. While the term mental fitness is being increasingly used by psychologists, mental health practitioners, schools, organizations, and the general population, there is confusion as to what it is (and isn’t) within the scientific and popular literature.” To address this lack of consensus, Paula has conducted a comprehensive theoretical and empirical review of the term “mental fitness” drawing from psychology, positive psychology, physical fitness, and the perceptions of the global community.

Based on this research, Paula developed a baseline definition and four underlying principles for the term “mental fitness,” which were evaluated by an international expert panel based on specific and rigorous selection criteria. The panelists were drawn from several countries, including Demark, United Kingdom, Canada, United States of America, Australia, and New Zealand. The expert panel reached consensus based on the set criteria, thus providing a final definition, four underlying principles and a framework of mental fitness broadly aligned to physical fitness (i.e., strength, flexibility, and endurance).

Following this study, Paula has developed a measure of mental fitness together with specific activities and practices designed for work, school, and everyday life to measurably improve well-being and optimal functioning. This research can now be practically applied to individuals, schools, and organizations.

Positive Aging

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) defines positive aging as the process of maintaining a positive attitude, feeling good about yourself, keeping fit and healthy, and engaging fully in life as you age” (Source: http://www.positivepsychologyinstitute.com.au/positive_ageing.html).The following text has been adapted from there:

Aging is often associated with many rewarding experiences but is also a time when significant changes might occur, such as a diminution of physical vitality and function, contracting social networks, limited employment opportunities, and loss. Keeping a positive attitude toward aging is vital, as studies indicate that a positive attitude improves physical and mental health. It also enables people to maintain a sense of control and quality of life as they face another part of the life cycle.

Why Positive Aging?

There is a worldwide growth in populations of people aged 55 years and over. This trend was described by the United Nations as “unprecedented, unparalleled, persistent, and profound” in its presentation of immense challenges to the structure of society. This dramatic demographic change is often lamented as a “problem” that somebody needs to “fix.” However, as Paul Lynch (Minister for Aging 2009) put it:

The fact that people are living longer is a very positive thing. And while an aging population poses challenges, it also presents a range of opportunities and benefits to older people and to the community as a whole. The challenge for government and the broader community is to make sure that as people live longer, they continue to lead healthy, happy, and fulfilling liv es. Whatever we make of our lives as we get older, most of us want to continue to be valued for our abilities and our capacity to contribute to society.

Positive Aging through PPI—Positive Psychology Institute: http://www.positivepsychologyinstitute.com.au encompasses: vitality and health, meaning and purpose, social connection and rewarding relationships, dementia risk reduction, and resilience.

Mental Fitness

The following text has been adapted from Paula Robinson, managing director of research, PPI, arguably the first in the world to address the concept, measurement, and development of Mental Fitness:

Mental Fitness is a proactive, positive term without the negative connotations associated to mental health or mental illness. While the term Mental Fitness is being increasingly used by psychologists, mental health practitioners, schools, organizations and the general population, there is confusion as to what it is (and isn’t) within the scientific and popular literature. To address this lack of consensus Paula has conducted a comprehensive theoretical and empirical review of the term Mental Fitness drawing from Psychology, Positive Psychology, physical fitness and the perceptions of the global community.

The improvement requirements includes:

  • Individual mental fitness programs for everyday life,
  • Mental fitness in the workplace—for individuals, teams, and organizational development
  • Mental fitness in education—for teachers, staff, and students

How to Improve Mental Well-Being

The term “mental health” is a state of mind when you are fully aware of your own potential and talent, and you are capable of utilizing it in the best interest of yourself as well as others having complete control of your emotional stability.

The three important aspects related to the mental health and mental well-being of the team are mentioned below:

  • What are the challenges of mental well-being?
  • How to improve mental health?
  • How to behave with mentally challenged team members?

According to the observations, when you are facing extreme mood changes, extreme sadness, excessive fear of failure, drug addiction, extreme stress levels, or suicidal thinking, you must immediately discuss this with your family or close friends or directly go and visit a doctor. In most cases these problems do not cure themselves.

In the technologically advanced era, one is extremely busy fulfilling their personal, professional, and social commitments. It has become very challenging to survive and therefore people are working extra hours. There are many reasons for stress, such as choosing your academic programs and then finding it difficult working in the field. Social issues, family matters, financial concerns, and political scenarios are other sources of stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are three causes of mental health problems:

  • Inherited traits
  • Environmental exposure before birth
  • Brain chemistry

There are more chances of mental illness in people whose biological (blood) relatives have a mental illness. Before birth exposure to viruses, toxins, and alcohol or drugs is observed while in the womb and sometimes is linked with mental illness. And lastly when there is any hormonal imbalance or biochemical changes in the brain these may affect mood and other aspects of mental health.

When the problem is not of a severe nature, a few simple tips may help to overcome or reduce the severity of the mental health issues. A daily morning walk, reading, a healthy diet, support from loved ones, exercise, gardening, music therapy, and getting organized are some basic activities that may be helpful.

Mental Health Promotion and Protection

The following text has been adapted from WHO: (2016)

Mental health promotion involves actions to create living conditions and environments that support mental health and allow people to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles. These include a range of actions to increase the chances of more people experiencing better mental health.

An environment that respects and protects basic civil, political, socio-economic and cultural rights is fundamental to mental health promotion. Without the security and freedom provided by these rights, it is very difficult to maintain a high level of mental health.

Physical Fitness

How leaders attain superhuman energy needed for advancement in project management?

Most leaders wake up early in the morning to exercise.

A proper training program is helpful for your better posture, exudes more energy, and prepares you to handle the demands of a busy professional life. Without energy, you’ll look and sound like a dud. The executive who exercises regularly looks and feels energized. They radiate passion, positivity, vitality, and energy.

Successful leaders carve out time for daily exercise because they have no choice. They have to prepare their bodies to handle the increasing demands of long hours and heavy travel schedules. Weight training and cardio exercises give them the strength and endurance to communicate with energy all day. Apple CEO Tim Cook has superhuman energy. He once stepped off an 18-hour plane trip after working most of the time, took a shower in his hotel room, and conducted 12 hours of meetings. The other executives were ready to call it quits and Cook had plenty of energy left. How does he do it? Cook is a fitness buff, often hitting the gym by 5:00 a.m. He cannot afford not to work out.

Most of us have room to step up our level of physical activity. It doesn’t always require that you work out at 5:00 a.m. The key is “just do it.

Exercise Tips for Professionals: Aging and Beating the Middle-Age Spread

Weight has a way of creeping up on you. Sitting at a desk for long hours and snacking leads to an expanding waistline. The following fitness tips yield the best results (Source: https//www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/healthy-eating/easy-way-to-manage-your-weight.aspx):

Being fit is a lifestyle: not a one-month, lose-fat fast program. Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Find what works best for you. Be prepared to work hard. It takes time; you didn’t gain all that weight in a day and you will not lose it in a day. This is not a hundred-meter dash but a marathon.

Focus on the internal benefits of exercising: Do not seek quick changes. Exercise helps prevent or delay many of the problems associated with getting older. It increases energy levels and brain activity, reduces cholesterol, boosts immunity, helps you sleep better, and increases your self-confidence. Weight-bearing exercise can also prevent osteoporosis.

Waist size matters: having belly fat, or visceral fat are at a significantly higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The reason for this is that visceral fat surrounds the vital organs. A few inches on the waistline is an external sign of an increase of fat in the arteries. In a nutshell, belly fat is very dangerous! A waist size generally over 35 inches in women and over 40 inches in men greatly increases the risk of chronic diseases.

Diet is key: make healthy choices. Reduce your calorie intake. As we grow older, our bodies need fewer calories because we are losing muscle mass. Eat balanced meals from the five food groups. Limit your intake of highly refined, processed, sugary, and fatty foods. Try swapping these foods for high-fiber alternatives. One of the best side effects of eating a high-fiber diet is that it helps to maintain or lose weight.

Reduce stress levels and rest adequately—the stress hormone cortisol occurs at higher levels when you have too much stress or not enough sleep. When cortisol levels rise, the fat cells in your abdominal area are the first to become filled.

Commit to an exercise programfor at least three to five days per week for 30 minutes. Set a regular time. With age comes a decrease in metabolism, energy, and strength. If you don’t work out at all, you’re going to lose muscle tissue every year and gravity will take over.

Proper form and mind-body connection is essential; concentrate on the muscle contraction with each movement. Always engage. Proper breathing techniques are also important. Know your body: Push yourself but know your limits. Stop if you feel dizzy or upset. Additionally, it’s important to recognize problems, for example, knees creak so reduce plyometric exercises, they may be hard on joints.

Your exercise routine incorporates

  • Strength training strengthens your muscles and bones. As you age, it is necessary to increase this if you want a toned physique. The more muscle you build, the more calories your body will naturally burn each day on its own.
  • Aerobic exercises increase your breathing and heart rate. These exercises help your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Maintaining aerobic fitness through middle age and beyond can delay biological aging by up to 12 years and prolong independence during old age (British Journal of Sports Medicine).
  • Flexibility and stretching can prevent injury and help your body stay limber. Pilatesis an effective exercise for overall toning as well as cinching the waist as it engages core stabilization. It looks easy but can be challenging.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle may not guarantee a life free of medical complaints, but just do your part and keep doing your best. If all you can do is walk, then walk. Do what you can do. Take small steps, be consistent, be persistent, believe in yourself, and most importantly don’t give up! Every little bit counts.

Overcome Sleep Deprivation

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, the short-term productivity gains from skipping sleep to work are quickly washed away by the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on your mood, ability to focus, and access to higher-level brain functions for days to come. The negative effects of sleep deprivation are so great that people who are drunk outperform those lacking sleep.

You Need Adequate Sleep to Perform

Sleep is good for the brain; new research from the University of Rochester provides the first direct evidence for why your brain cells need you to sleep (and sleep the right way). The study found that when you sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons that are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you’re asleep. So when you don’t get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think—something no amount of caffeine can fix.

Skipping sleep impairs your brain function across the board. It slows your ability to process information and solves it, kills your creativity, and catapults your stress levels and emotional reactivity. Manage it effectively in line with requirements of the body for freshness.

What Sleep Deprivation Does to Health

Sleep deprivation is linked to a variety of serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. It stresses you out because your body overproduces the stress hormone cortisol when it’s sleep deprived. While excess cortisol has a host of negative health effects that come from the havoc it wreaks on your immune system, it also makes you look older, because cortisol breaks down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.

Dr. Travis Bradberry’s article on LinkedIn, “The Impacts of Sleep Deprivation,” is illustrated in Figure 6.1.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

Most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to feel sufficiently fresh. Few people are at their best with less than 7 hours, and others require more than 9 hours without an underlying health condition. And that’s a major problem in Americans who get less than the necessary 7 hours of sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Doing Something about It

Beyond the obvious sleep benefits of thinking clearly and staying healthy, the ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance.

Dr. Bradberry, cofounder of Talentsmart.com, has conducted research with more than a million people and found that 90 percent of top performers are high in emotional intelligence (EQ). These individuals are skilled at understanding and using emotions to their benefit, and good sleep hygiene is one of the greatest tools at their disposal.

The following text has been adapted from Dr. Travis Bradberry, “The Impacts of Sleep Deprivation”:

  1. Stay Away from Sleeping Pills

    Stay away from sleeping pills and anything else that sedates you so that you can sleep. Whether it’s alcohol, Nyquil, Benadryl, Valium, Ambien, or anything else, these substances greatly disrupt your brain’s natural sleep process. Anything that interferes with the brain’s natural sleep process has dire consequences for the quality of your sleep.

  2. Stop Drinking Caffeine (at least after lunch)

    Sleep more and vastly improve the quality of the sleep you get by reducing your caffeine intake. It is a powerful stimulant that interferes with sleep by increasing adrenaline production and blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain. Caffeine has a 6-hour half-life, which means it takes a full 24 hours to work its way out of your system.

  3. Avoid Blue Light at Night

    This is important and most people don’t even realize it impacts their sleep. Short-wave length blue light plays an important role in your mood, energy level, and sleep quality. In the morning, sunlight contains high concentrations of this blue light. When your eyes are exposed to it directly (not through a window or while wearing sunglasses), the blue light halts production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and makes you feel more alert.

  4. Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day

    Consistency is key to a good night’s sleep, especially when it comes to waking up. The same time every day improves your mood and sleep quality by regulating your circadian rhythm. You have a consistent wake-up time, the brain acclimates to this and moves through the sleep cycle in preparation for you to feel rested and alert at wake-up time.

    Your brain doesn’t know when to complete the sleep process and when it should prepare you to be awake when you do not follow a set pattern.

  5. Learn How Much Sleep You Really Need

    The amount of sleep you need is something that you can’t control, and scientists are beginning to discover the genes that dictate it. The problem is, most people sleep much less than they really need and are under-performing because they think they’re getting enough. Some discover this the hard way.

  6. Stop Working

    When you work in the evening, it puts you into a stimulated, alert state when you should be winding down and relaxing in preparation for sleep. Recent surveys show that roughly 60% of people monitor their smart phones for work emails until they go to sleep. Stay off blue light-emitting devices.

  7. Learn to Meditate

    Many people who learn to meditate report that it improves the quality of their sleep and that they can get the rest they need even if they aren’t able to significantly increase the number of hours they sleep. At the Stanford Medical Center, insomniacs participated in a six-week mindfulness meditation and cognitive-behavioral therapy course. At the end of the study, participants’ average time to fall asleep was cut in half (from 40 to 20 minutes), and 60% of subjects no longer qualified as insomniacs. A similar study at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that 91% of participants either reduced the amount of medication they needed to sleep or stopped taking medication entirely after a mindfulness and sleep therapy course. After all, the only thing worth catching up on at night is your sleep

Dr. Bradberry is also the award-winning coauthor of the #1 bestselling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

Emotional Fitness

Are you fit to lead? The answer lies in learning about the areas that increasingly help advancement with greater responsibilities and sustain success.

The Dimensions of an Emotionally Fit Leader

  1. You Have a Robust Emotional Vocabulary

    All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. The research shows that only 36 percent of people can do this, which is problematic because unlabeled emotions often go misunderstood, which leads to irrational choices and counterproductive actions.

    You need to understand and use an extensive vocabulary of feelings to do so. While many might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” emotionally intelligent people pinpoint whether they feel “irritable,” “frustrated,” “downtrodden,” or “anxious.” The more specific your word choice, the better insight you have into exactly how you are feeling, what caused it, and what you should do about it.

  2. You’re Curious about People

    No matter they are introverted or extroverted, emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. This curiosity is the product of empathy, one of the most significant gateways to a high EQ. The more you care about other people and what they’re going through, the more curiosity you’re going to have about them.

  3. You Embrace Change

    Emotionally intelligent people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.

  4. You Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

    Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand emotions; they know what they’re good at and what they’re terrible at. They also know who pushes their buttons and the environments that enable them to succeed. Having a high EQ means you know your strengths and you know how to lean into them and use them to your full advantage while keeping your weaknesses from holding you back.

  5. You’re a Good Judge of Character

    Much of emotional intelligence comes down to social awareness and the ability to read other people, know what they’re about, and understand what they are going through. Over time, this skill makes you an exceptional judge of character. People are no mystery to you. You know what they’re all about and understand their motivations, even those that lie hidden beneath the surface.

  6. You Are Difficult to Offend

    When you have a firm grasp of who you are, it’s difficult for someone to say or do something that offends you. Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and open-minded, which creates a pretty thick skin. You may even poke fun at yourself or let other people make jokes about you because you are able to mentally draw the line between humor and degradation.

  7. You Know How to Say No (to Yourself and Others)

    Emotional intelligence means knowing how to exert self-control. You delay gratification, and you avoid impulsive action. Research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that the more difficult it is for you to say no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Saying no is indeed a major self-control challenge for many people. “No” is a powerful word that you should not be afraid of to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.”

  8. You Let Go of Mistakes

    Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their mistakes, but do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success. It takes refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.

  9. You Give and Expect Nothing in Return

    When someone gives you something spontaneously, without expecting anything in return, this leaves a powerful impression. Emotionally intelligent people build strong relationships because they are constantly thinking about others.

  10. You Don’t Hold Grudges

    The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event sends your body into fight-or-flight mode, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. When the threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival. Researchers at Emory University have shown that holding onto stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs.

  11. You Neutralize Toxic People

    Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. High-EQ individuals control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their own emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find solutions and common ground.

  12. You Don’t Seek Perfection

    Emotionally intelligent people won’t set perfection as their target because they know that it doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure that makes you want to give up or reduce your effort.

  13. You Appreciate What You Have

    Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the right thing to do; it also improves your mood because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23 percent. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis, found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.

  14. You Disconnect

    Taking regular time off the grid is a sign of a high EQ because it helps you to keep your stress under control and to live in the moment. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even turning off your phone gives your body and mind a break. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels.

  15. You Limit Your Caffeine Intake

    Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, and adrenaline is the source of the fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response to ensure survival. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyper-aroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. High-EQ individuals know that caffeine is trouble, and they don’t let it get the better of them.

  16. You Get Enough Sleep

    It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams) so that you wake up alert and clearheaded. High-EQ individuals know that their self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when they don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. So, they make sleep a top priority.

  17. You Stop Negative Self-Talk in Its Tracks

    The more you are on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural tendency to perceive threats (inflating the frequency or severity of an event). Emotionally intelligent people separate their thoughts from the facts in order to escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive, new outlook.

  18. You Won’t Let Anyone Limit Your Joy

    When the sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something that they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take that away from them. It is impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. No matter what other people are thinking, your self-worth comes from within.

Spiritual Fitness

Spiritual strength enables you to build inner strength, make meaning of experience, behave ethically, persevere through challenges, and be resilient when faced with adversity.

The term is used to capture a person’s overall spiritual health and reflects how spirituality may help one cope with and enjoy productive life. Spirituality may be used generally to refer to that which gives meaning and purpose in life. The term may be used more specifically to refer to the practice of a philosophy, religion, or way of living.

What Is Spiritual Fitness?

A person is typically healthier when they practice their faith, beliefs, and other activities that support their spirituality. Spiritual fitness is typically less healthy when one neglects to practice faiths, beliefs, and other activities that support spirituality.

Philosophy of Spirituality

All religions have their ways of learning spirituality, which brings their followers the required levels of benefits.

Islam helps reach the height of spirituality through commandments of one Allah, the sole creator and benefactor of the universe with unimaginable power to control, and by following the role model of the messenger, the last prophet Muhammad Mustafa.

6.2 Managing the Core Values

The strength of personality depends on personal values that need to be maintained for leadership effectiveness and continued to influence the betterment of a team. These are as follows:

  • Credibility
  • Character
  • Integrity
  • Attitude

Credibility

Credibility provides the foundation for leadership and essentially forms a relationship based on deep-rooted trust and confidence for the right action taken for greater good. Team members have to believe in their leaders before they willingly follow them. It is the responsibility of a leader to earn and sustain credibility inch by inch and moment to moment.

Credibility is about behavior and responses to challenges to meet team members’ demands. It is defined as the quality of being trusted.

Credibility has the following characteristics:

 

C—Courageous, cooperative, competent, candid, caring, curious

R—restrained, receptive, resourceful, resolute, responsive

E—Enthusiastic, energetic

D—Dependable, dedicated, daring, dutiful, determined, devoted, depth of sense, disciplined

I—Intelligent, inspiring, independent

B—Broad-minded, bold

I—Integrity, intellectual

L—Loyal, loving

I—Imaginative, innovative

T—Trustworthy, truthful, thoughtful, team player

Y—Yearning for excellence, yield to maturity

The essential ingredients of credibility are:

  1. Integrity—truthful, trustworthy, character, convictions, honest
  2. Competence—capable, productive, efficient
  3. Leadership—humane, inspiring, decisive, resourceful, direction

Credibility inspires loyalty and commitment.

The team members working with a highly credible leader feel:

  • Valued
  • Motivated
  • Enthusiastic
  • Challenged
  • Inspired
  • Capable
  • Supported
  • Powerful
  • Respected
  • Proud
  • Connected

The work environment is impacted by the intensity of credibility as follows:

Positive with High Credibility

  • Pride in working with the organization and tell others they are part of it
  • A strong sense of team spirit
  • Attached and committed to the organization and personal values consistent with those of the organization
  • A sense of ownership.

Negative with Low Credibility

  • Produce only when watched carefully
  • Motivated by money
  • Publicly say good things but feel differently about the organization
  • Not willing to stay long under pressure and do not own the challenges.

Building Credibility

Earning credibility is a retail activity, a person-to-person activity. It is gained in small quantities through physical presence. Leaders have to be visible and they have to get close to their team to earn respect and trust. Leaders who are inaccessible cannot possibly expect to be trusted just because they have a title. Besides essential ingredients, credibility is earned through the physical acts of shaking hands, leaning forward, stopping to listen, and being responsive. By sharing personal experiences, telling stories, and joining in dialogue, leaders become people and just not positions.

Sure Ways to Destroy Credibility

It takes years to build credibility. When you have arrived at that zenith, however, it is a great asset to have. If and when you do make an honest mistake, that storehouse of credibility will bring you through the storm. However, there are certain things that will destroy your credibility within a matter of moments:

  • By Accident: Certain things are out of the project manager’s control. You must rely on others to do what they say they are going to do. You can follow up, cajole, and persuade as much as possible, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the resource to get the job done.

Your superiors will understand for a little while when you are unable to deliver on a project because of other people’s shortcomings. However, it may undermine your credibility when they continue the same way.

  • By Covering Up: You are sure to ruin your own credibility when you deliberately conceal information. A key deliverable is missed, which sets the project schedule back by two months. You know about the delay, but you fail to alert anyone or make plans to complete the missed deliverable, and 6 weeks later, you say you don’t know anything about it; then your credibility vanishes instantly.
  • By Being Manipulative: Another way to instantly lose credibility is to be manipulative. One technique of manipulation is convincing someone else that it’s in their best interest to get something done, when the reality is it’s in your best interest.

Credibility is the single most important quality of a project manager. You can be the best project planner, risk mitigation expert, or cost controller. But all of these things mean nothing unless your team trusts you. Build a solid base of credibility and your project management career will flourish.

The single greatest quality every leader in project management must possess is credibility.

Integrity

Leadership Integrity

Project management requires strong leadership integrity to support forceful and uninterrupted implementation of projects and programs. You very often find it hard to trust leaders on projects. To help decide how leaders should behave and how to judge them, one needs a clear understanding of what one should expect of them.

Why Integrity Matters

Integrity is demanded in business and project leaders because they are granted so much authority and power for use of huge resources. Generally, one wants to trust everyone in life like family members, friends, and colleagues. One feels let down by integrity lapses in leaders because so much is expected of them.

What Is Integrity?

There is a connection between trust and integrity, but trust is a broader concept. One needs to be competent to earn trust, not just honest. To be a credible candidate for a job, one needs skills and personal qualities. Integrity is also broader than honesty. In addition to being honest, leaders with integrity must behave ethically. A criminal could be honest while breaking the law. Leaders with integrity must have an unwavering commitment to culturally accepted values and be willing to defend them. This requires them to do the right thing even when it is not in their personal interest. Leaders with integrity are responsible and consistent.

Why Do Leaders Lack Integrity?

Virtually no one is completely honest. Who has not, for example, failed to stop at traffic lights, cheated on exams, padded expenses, or exaggerated achievements to look good in a job interview? Many of us have what we might call “convenient values.” We live up to them only when they don’t prevent us from doing what we want. So, why is anyone dishonest? Reasons are complex, but they include the feeling of being entitled to something and being able to get away with it. People in high places feel that their power makes them untouchable. Also, because there is so much more to gain by bending the rules in high places, the temptation must be enormous. High-profile leaders are driven to stay in power; only the rarest of leaders put principles ahead of personal interest when they are threatened with losing their exalted status.

Character

Why Character Matters

Character is a central, important element of leadership—particularly for the kind of cross-enterprise leadership that is essential in project management and business organizations. Character fundamentally shapes how one engages with the world, what is noticed, what is reinforced, who is engaged, what is valued, what is chosen to act on, how a decision is made, and the list goes on.

Defining Character

There is no consensus on the definition of character. In fact, there seems to be as many definitions as there are scholars whose research and writing focus on character. Let’s consider character with focus on:

  1. Personality
  2. Traits
  3. Values
  4. Virtues.

The following text has been adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology:

Personality

It refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas: One, understanding of individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability. The other, how the various parts of a person come together as a whole?

Traits

Traits are defined as habitual patterns of thought, behavior, and emotion that are considered to be relatively stable in individuals across situations and over time. Traits are not fixed. For example, introverts may be able to learn how to behave in a less introverted way, while extroverts may learn how to control and moderate their extroverted behaviors when situations require it.

There are, literally, hundreds of personality traits from A (ambition) to Z (zealousness) that have been described in the psychology literature. However, through statistical techniques such as factor analysis, five broad domains, or dimensions, of personality have emerged, and are now widely used in various forms in employee selection and assessment. The “Big-Five” traits are:

  • Conscientiousness
  • Openness to experience
  • Extroversion
  • Agreeableness, and
  • Neuroticism

These five traits have come to be known as the FFM, the five-factor model, a robust model of personality. There are various other traits that warrant consideration and measurement, such as self-confidence, ambition, perfectionism, dominance, rigidity, persistence, and impulsivity.

Values

Values are beliefs that people have about what is important or worthwhile to them. Values influence behavior because people seek more of what they value. When they get more net value by behaving in certain ways, they will. Values therefore can be seen as the guideposts for behavior. Some people value their autonomy very highly, some value social interaction, some value the opportunity to be creative, some value work-life balance, and so on. Values may change with life stages and according to the extent to which a particular value has already been realized.

Virtues

Virtues are like behavioral habits—something that is exhibited fairly consistently. Aristotle wrote that: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Aristotle identified and defined twelve virtues: Courage, Temperance, Generosity, Magnificence, Magnanimity, Ambition, Good temper, Friendliness, Truthfulness, Wit, and Justice. The twelfth virtue is Practical Wisdom, which is necessary to live the “good life” and thus achieve happiness or well-being.

The Ten Virtues of a Cross-Enterprise Leader

We propose that cross-enterprise leaders who focus on the long-term performance of their organizations must demonstrate 10 virtues, shown in Figure 6.2.

  • Integrity is essential to building trust and encouraging others to collaborate
  • Courage helps leaders make difficult decisions and challenge the decisions or actions of others
  • Accountability ensures that leaders own and commit to the decisions they make and encourages the same in others needs of multiple stakeholders in and outside their organizations
  • Collaboration enables teamwork
  • Humility is essential to learning and becoming a better leader
  • Justice yields decisions that are accepted as legitimate and reasonable by others
  • Temperance ensures that leaders take reasonable risks
  • Transcendence equips the leader with a sense of optimism and purpose
  • Judgment allows leaders to balance and integrate these virtues in ways that serve the team
  • Humanity builds empathy and understanding of others.

In assessing leaders at any level in an organization, we must always ask these questions:

  • Do they have the competencies to be a leader? Do they have the knowledge, the understanding of key concepts, facts, and relationships that they need to do the job effectively?
  • Do they have the commitment to be a leader? Yes, they aspire to be a leader, but are they prepared to do the hard work of leadership, engage with others in fulfilling the organizational mission, achieve the vision and deliver on the goals?
  • Do they have the character to be a good leader and strive to be an even better one? Do they have the values, traits, and virtues that others—shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, regulators, and the broader society within which they operate—will use to determine if they are good leaders?
  • Do they have strong interrelationship and emotional skills?

Attitude

Positive Thinking Is a Way of Life, a mindset, and a habit.

Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ.

Dweck found that people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged. People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.

Common sense would suggest that having ability, like being smart, inspires confidence. It does, but only while the going is easy. The deciding factor in life is how you handle setbacks and challenges. People with a growth mindset welcome setbacks with open arms.

According to Dweck, success in life is all about how you deal with failure. She describes the approach to failure of people with a growth mindset as an inability to deal with failure. Failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing; in fact, failure is helpful information. It shows us how to do better next time.

Regardless of which side of the chart you fall on, you can make changes and develop a growth mindset. What follows are some strategies that will fine-tune your mindset and help you make certain it’s as growth oriented as possible.

You hit challenging moments when you feel helpless. One can either learn from it and move forward or let it drag down. There are countless successful people who would have never made it if they had succumbed to feelings of helplessness: Walt Disney was reportedly fired from the Kansas City Star because he lacked imagination, Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a TV anchor in Baltimore for being too emotionally invested in her stories, Henry Ford failed multiple times prior to succeeding with Ford, and Steven Spielberg was rejected by USC’s Cinematic Arts School two times. All face challenges and may feel helpless. Important is how best to deal with that feeling. With a growth mindset you don’t feel helpless because you know that in order to be successful, you need to be willing to fail hard and then bounce right back.

With a positive attitude, one experiences pleasant and happy feelings. This brings more energy, and happiness. Your health is affected in a beneficial way, walk tall, your voice is more powerful, and your body language shows the positive way you feel.

Positive and Negative Thinking Are Contagious

You affect, and gets affected by, the people you meet, in one way or another. This happens instinctively and on a subconscious level, through words, thoughts, and feelings, and through body language.

It is no wonder that you want to be around positive people, and prefer to avoid negative ones.

People are more disposed to help when you are positive, and they dislike and avoid anyone broadcasting negativity.

Positive Thinking: Practical Instructions

In order to turn the mind toward the positive, some inner work is required, since attitude and thoughts do not change overnight.

  1. Read about this subject, think about its benefits, and persuade yourself to try it. The power of your thoughts is a mighty power that is always shaping your life. This shaping is usually done subconsciously, but it is possible to make the process a conscious one. Even if the idea seems strange, give it a try. You have nothing to lose, but only to gain.
  2. Ignore what other people say or think about you, if they discover that you are changing the way you think.
  3. Use your imagination to visualize only favorable and beneficial situations.
  4. Use positive words in your inner dialogues, or when talking with others.
  5. Smile a little more, as this helps positive thinking.
  6. Once a negative thought enters your mind, you have to be aware of it, and endeavor to replace it with a constructive one. If the negative thought returns, replace it again with a positive one. It is as if there are two pictures in front of you, and you have to choose to look at one of them, and disregard the other. Persistence will eventually teach your mind to think positively, and to ignore negative thoughts.
  7. In case you experience inner resistance and difficulties when replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, do not give up, but keep looking only at the beneficial, good, and happy thoughts in your mind. Expect only favorable results and situations, and circumstances will change accordingly. If you persevere, you will transform the way your mind thinks. It might take some time for the changes to take place, but eventually they will.

Positive attitude is the cause of success and happiness.

A positive attitude helps you cope more easily with the daily affairs of life. It brings optimism into your life, and makes it easier to avoid worries and negative thinking. If you adopt it as a way of life, it will bring constructive changes into your life.

With a positive attitude, you see the bright side of life, become optimistic, and expect the best to happen. It is certainly a state of mind that is well worth developing.

Positive attitude manifests in the following ways:

  1. Choose to be happy. Yes, it is a matter of choice. When negative thoughts enter your mind, just refuse to look at them, substituting them with happy thoughts.
  2. Look at the bright side of life. It’s a matter of choice and repeated attempts.
  3. Choose to be optimistic.
  4. Find reasons to smile more often. You can find such reasons, if you look for them.
  5. Have faith in yourself, and believe that the universe can help you.
  6. Associate yourself with happy people.
  7. Read inspiring stories.
  8. Read inspiring quotes.
  9. Repeat affirmation that inspires and motivates you.
  10. Visualize only what you want to happen, not what you don’t want.
  11. Learn to master your thoughts.

Summary

Leadership is a highly stressful role and demands a high level of fitness, which is achievable together through physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. All four areas are equally important and need to be maintained.

Leadership requires strong personality developed through building credibility, character, integrity, and attitude. Maintaining an effective level is required for a leader.

References

American Psychological Association. “Personality—Encyclopedia of Psychology.” http://www.apa.org/topics/personality/

APTA-American Physical Therapy Association. “Good Postures.” http://fliphtml5.com/zlwu/twsz/basic

The Australian Psychological Society. “Positive Ageing.” http://www.positivepsychologyinstitute.com.au/positive_ageing.html

Bradberry, T. December 1, 2014. “Sleep Deprivation is Killing You and Your Career.” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141201150910-50578967-skipping-sleep-is-career-suicide

Positive Psychology Institute. “Positive Aging through PPI.” http://www.positivepsychologyinstitute.com.au

Robinson, P. “Mental Fitness.” http://www.positivepsychologyinstitute.com.au/mental_fitness.html

Vann, M.R. 2009. “12 Steps to Manage Your Weight.” https://www.everydayhealth.com/weight/weight-management.aspx

WHO. 2016. “Mental Health Promotion and Protection.” http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs220/en/