Leadership Tool #7: Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a way of focusing on the present and promoting self awareness (Thakrar, 2017). Mindfulness reduces stress and increases productivity. It can be practiced in a variety of ways. It could be something as simple as taking deep breaths to reduce tension or even yoga (Thakrar, 2017). This tool was selected because although it seems like a relatively new technique in the business world, it has been widely successful in large companies.

MindfulnessFigure 1. UNSW Sydney. (2018). Mindfulness and Meditation [Online Image]. Retrieved from https://student.unsw.edu.au/mindfulness-and-meditation

Some simple techniques recommended by Thakrar (2017) is the body scan and breathing meditation. The body scan is when you sit with your back straight and take deep breaths as you start to notice your body from feet to head. This practice promote self awareness. Breathing meditation is through simple breathing exercises (Thakrar, 2017). These examples of mindfulness can easily be done at your desk at work and can help center you in difficult work situations.

Mindfulness also helps to keep emotions under control during stressful situations (George, 2012). Mindfulness connects back to goal setting, it keeps us accountable and connected to them.


George, B. (2012, Oct 26). Mindfulness Helps You Become a Better Leader. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2012/10/mindfulness-helps-you-become-a

Thakrar, M. (2017, Jun 28). How To Create Mindful Leadership. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/06/28/how-to-create-mindful-leadership/#54032038342a

The Monthly Video. (2013, May 2). Mindfulness and leadership. Ellen Langer [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBsDUuXlRYc&pbjreload=10

UNSW Sydney. (2018). Mindfulness and Meditation [Online Image]. Retrieved from https://student.unsw.edu.au/mindfulness-and-meditation




Leadership Tool #6: Feedback

Feedback is a guideline for what you need to work on and what you’re doing well at. To be an effective leader means being able to give feedback but also to be open to receiving feedback (Craven, 2018). Having open communication between members and leaders of the team aids in team dynamic (Mayhew, n.d.). Mayhew (n.d.) states that through feedback with employees, leaders learn more about employee job tasks and challenges faced by the employees. It provides the leader an opportunity to mentor employees to improve their performance and help them reach their career goals (Mayhew, n.d.). This tool was selected because feedback is necessary to measure performance. It provides an outlet to encourage increased participating in tasks and allows for effective criticism.

For feedback to be effective it must be honest feedback. Even though the truth can be difficult to hear, everyone needs to hear it (Folkman, 2013). Although in a previous post I addressed the importance of positivity, there are occasions where negative feedback needs to be discussed. Honest feedback is only effective if it delivered well and not like a punishment (Folkman, 2013). 

Feedback also improves employee morale. With constant communication, employees and leaders develop a strong and comfortable dynamic. When conflict arises, like in any organization, the practice of open communication and feedback prior will help smooth out any wrinkles (Mayhew, n.d.).  Feedback during conflict is essential when addressing employee and managerial issues.


Craven, J. (2018, Jan 16). Being A Great Leader Means Giving And Receiving Feedback. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/01/16/being-a-great-leader-means-giving-and-receiving-feedback/#1bb54e33ebc9

Folkman, J. (2013, Dec 19). The Best Gift Leaders Can Give: Honest Feedback. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/joefolkman/2013/12/19/the-best-gift-leaders-can-give-honest-feedback/#1609d9194c2b

Mayhew, R. (n.d.). The Importance of Feedback When in a Leadership Position. Chron. Retrieved from http://work.chron.com/importance-feedback-leadership-position-3355.html

Mind Tools Video. (2014, Nov 25). Giving Feedback in the Workplace: How to Give Feedback to Employees [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id_uG8Djdsc

TEDx Talk. (2015, Jun 22). How to use others’ feedback to learn and grow | Sheila Heen | TEDxAmoskeagMillyardWomen [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQNbaKkYk_Q



Leadership Tool #5: Goal Setting

Goal setting is vital for employees and an organization to keep on track. A leader has to motivate their employees and it helps to have clear guidelines and expectations (Nolan, 2017). Goal setting can be for a project as a whole or personal goals set by the employee. Either way, the leader needs to recognize the importance of them and help each employee to achieve said goals. This tool was selected because goal setting holds an organization and employee accountable. Goals are different for everyone, they can be work related, personal, short term or long term.

A common way to set goals is through the SMART goal acronym (see figure 1).

Smart goals

Figure 1. Gravalese, S. (2018, Jan 26). Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals [Online Image]. Retrieved from https://firecider.com/blogs/news/setting-s-m-a-r-t-goals

Goal setting can also be addressed by the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of the results comes from 20% of the work (Tracy, 2016). Brian Tracy (2016), recognizes two ways that the 80/20 rule can be applied to goal setting.

  1. Resist the urge to finish small goals first
  2. Pick one large goal and work towards it all the time


Gravalese, S. (2018, Jan 26). Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals [Online Image]. Retrieved from https://firecider.com/blogs/news/setting-s-m-a-r-t-goals

Nolan, R. (2017, Feb 20). 10 Leadership Tips: Set Goals and Objectives Right. Retrieved from https://project-management.com/10-leadership-tips-set-goals-and-objectives-right/

Tracy, B. (2016, May 10). How to Set Goals: 80/20 Rule for Goal Setting | Brian Tracy [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdiApKj3QPg



Leadership Tool #4: Liking

Liking and respect are vital parts of being an effective leader but there is a difference between earning respect and demanding respect (Vella, 2016). Earning respect is achieved by a balance of being consistent, responsive, and accepting when you are wrong (Vella, 2016). This tool was selected because it corresponds with all the tools mentioned previously. Positivity, the situation, and morality all work in a manner of liking. Leaders that posses these skills are effective leaders.

Respect also goes both ways. Those that respect and like others will be respected and liked back (Center for Creative Leadership, 2018). Liking can be expressed in many ways. A simple compliment can go a long way (Cialdini, 2009, p. 149). This relates back to the positivity leadership tool as employees respond more favorably to positive feedback as opposed to negative comments (McQuaid, 2015). Communication brings people into the in group and out of the stranger phase.

We also tend to like people that are similar to us (Caildini, 2009, p. 148). By finding common ground, leaders can make it possible for employees to be more comfortable and increases employees perception of their superiors as people too.


Figure 1. Porter, J. (2014, Apr 30). A quick look into the six principles of influence [Online Image]. Retrieved from www.jrmyprtr.com/cialdini-six-principles-of-influence/


Center for Creative Leadership. (2018). The Power of Respect. Retrieved from https://www.ccl.org/articles/leading-effectively-articles/the-power-of-respect/

Cialdini, R. (2009). Influence: Science and Practice (5th ed.). Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education, Inc. 

Happy Dust. (2015, Sept 6). Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion By Robert Cialdini | Animated Book Review [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vRsaWZuWOo

McQuaid, M. (2015). 5 Ways To Be A More Positive Leader. Retrieved from https://www.michellemcquaid.com/5-ways-positive-leader/

Vella, D. (2016, Jan 18). Why Respect is the Cornerstone of Effective Leadership. Retrieved from www.thoughtleadersllc.com/2016/01/why-respect-is-the-cornerstone-of-effective-leadership/


Leadership Tool #3: Positivity

“Good leadership requires discipline, foresight, and organization. Great leadership, on the other hand, comes with an added dose of strong positivity” (Kruse, 2017). This tool was selected because positivity, although simple, can severely influence a teams dynamic for the better.

Jon Gordon, a motivational speaker and author, discusses positivity to share a message and to encourage your team (Kruse, 2017). Jon Gordon (2017) discusses 9 practices that makes great leaders great, one of them being that “positive leaders confront, transform and remove negativity.” One of the biggest issues in an organization is that of negativity within the team. Positivity can be used to unite a team to encourage them to work towards a common goal. Positivity also inspires positive relationships (Gordon, 2017).

In an article by Michelle McQuaid (2015), she discusses 5 ways to be a more positive leader. She found that when a manager had a conversation with an employee about their weaknesses, their performance went down by 36%. When the manager switched it around and discussed an employee’s strengths, their performance increased by 27% (McQuaid, 2015). This provides proof that by changing once approach from negative to positive it can greatly impact a team.


Gordon, J. (2017, Apr 17). 9 Practices that Make Great Leaders Great. Retrieved from www.jongordon.com/positivetip/great-leaders-great.html

Gordon, J. (2017, Nov 21). Power of Positive Leadership [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhQcwzyXATc

Kruse, K. (2017, Aug 2). Don’t Underestimate the Power Of Positive Leadership. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2017/08/02/dont-underestimate-the-power-of-positive-leadership/#63709ab957bc

McQuaid, M. (2015). 5 Ways To Be A More Positive Leader. Retrieved from https://www.michellemcquaid.com/5-ways-positive-leader/

McQuaid, M. (2015, May 7). 5 Ways To Be A Positive Leader [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iqpqbjY41k