Modern-day leadership and taking a break

Leadership is not cheap. It has a cost attached to it. As leaders try aligning more and more people towards their vision, they typically end up spending either on things that enhance their intimidation power or on things that can provide their followers with some extrinsic motivation.

Intimidation includes the leader’s authority or position, while motivation typically consists of payouts to the followers like salary or promotions. As a leader moves up the ladder, these costs do not come down, as generally expected, but tend to go up.

Because higher up, he is exposed to more multi-stakeholder situations, where power does not hold as much value and more democratic situations, where short term incentives cannot sway important decisions. A leader suddenly realizes that his authority, wealth or resources are producing lesser outcomes than they used to. But there is another way; one that is difficult to follow, costs less, yet is greater in impact.

Soft power uses a different type of currency not authority or money to engender cooperation. It uses an attraction to shared values, and the justness and duty of contributing to the achievement of those values.

It rests on the ability to shape the preferences of others. For example, in the business world, smart leaders know that leadership is not just a matter of issuing commands, but also involves leading by example and attracting others to do what you want.

Soft power is about making yourself sufficiently friendly and attractive that people want to help you achieve your objectives, because they believe that these objectives are also their own. This attractiveness of a leader often takes two shades. First, where you draw people to your vision through your charisma, unswerving commitment, contagious ebullience and personal magnetism, helping you connect with people at a deeper level.

And second, empathy, where you work on your preferences in such a way that they seem legitimate, aligned with the culture and values of the people such that they want to follow you, they want to make you win. Charisma is more internal oriented attractiveness where the focus is on the leader’s qualities, while empathy is more externally oriented, with the focus on how the leader’s values are in line with that of his people.

Both charisma as well as empathy becomes just shades in the same drawing as a leader moves up. They could be used in differential quantities, but you need a bit of both to truly exercise soft power. However, definitely with soft power on your side, it would cost you less to lead. And it would cause more to be led.

While it requires a lot of effort to carry an entire organization team with you for achieving organization goals, it seems even lower levels from top require proportionate efforts to carry their team groups. Every corporate high flier has a high quitting point. They seem to draw upon their reserves of extra energy, when most people would give up. But at the same time, there’s no point in trying to work non stop when your mind and body are not up to it.

You have just finished a major task. Don’t take breaks in between if you feel that you end squandering time recovering your concentration. Once, finished a big task like – writing a report, project viable documents, etc., give yourself a break.

Analyze whether you have actually been working hard or not. See whether the past few days have been productive or not. Taking rest after accomplishing nearly nothing, will only encourage procrastinating. Don’t take a break when you are in the thick of things. It interrupts your natural thinking. Look for logical breaks in your work to plan out quick breaks.

The more decided you are on your resting strategy, the more you stick to it. This automatically helps you stay focused. Here are a few pointers to make it work: Plan daily and weekly goals and set a time table about the tasks you want to accomplish. Rest only when you are done with them. Allocate time for it. You can use the spare time as you wish. This keeps you guilt free during rest periods and reduces the urge to procrastinate during work hours.

You can work with full concentration on a task only for a short while. However, having diversified interests can keep your emotions and energy levels high. If work is your only interests then it’s easy to burnout. Hobbies, social activities and interests can refresh your mind and keep it ticking.

Have at least one lazy day in office, when you do things really slowly or just chill. It will balance out your otherwise tiring week and help stay focused on your priorities and whenever you feel a strong urge to give up or procrastinate on an issue, commit yourself to pursue it 20 percent further. This controls your temporary feelings of laziness.

Have a day or even a few minutes in a day when you rework your goals, pep up your motivation levels or indulge in a hobby to recharge your drive but don’t rely on substances like coffee or cigarettes to stimulate energy levels.