When you are required to manage in any capacity it can be draining. It’s important that you take care of yourself at the same time as managing the pressures and responsibility that comes with such a role. By taking care yourself you can perform better as a leader, be more accessible, approachable and effective, so it’s not a selfish exercise even though it may seem like one. Here are 5 brain-friendly tips which will help you function at your best.
1. Be aware of your emotions and act accordingly
Hopefully, you wake up in a positive frame of mind and are primed for a successful day but we all know this isn’t always the case. As hard as we try, personal and professional issues follow us throughout our day and affect our emotions and functioning.
If you’ve had a rough night with kids who are unwell or you are not feeling 100% for whatever reason, consider whether the daily plan is still appropriate. The same goes for your team. Is today the best day to try changing a team member’s behaviour when they are clearly struggling? It’s not about making excuses or procrastinating; it’s about considering outside pressures when managing your team.
2. Know when you are at your best and schedule accordingly
Are you a morning person or does it take a few hours for you to hit your stride? Are you more productive after opening hours when the rest of the team has left, the phones have stopped and the business is quiet?
Consider when you are at your freshest or can concentrate best and make adjustments to your daily or weekly plan on that basis. Mindfulness is vital in your role as a leader. Make sure you are really present when you work.
3. Set clear boundaries and stick to them
Do you need 30 minutes each morning to check your emails and set a daily task list to clear your head and make your day more effective? Then make sure your team knows not to interrupt you unless something is urgent.
Being on call to people constantly can be counterproductive it means you can never concentrate on one task at a time.
4. Take breaks and refuel
No one performs at their best without sufficient rest and refreshment so don’t expect yourself to. If you feel foggy or tired a breath of fresh air, literally, and a glass of water might be just the brain space you need to clear your head and find the solution to the issue you’ve been dwelling on for 30 minutes.
5. Be present at the moment and try not to multi-task
It can be tempting to do two or even three things at once as you can fall into the trap of thinking you will achieve more. It’s rarely the case, and all it does is add more stress and pressure and reduces productivity and quality.
Don’t be afraid to turn the phone off or close your computer when they are not essential to the task at hand, especially when it involves dealing with staff, customers or other managers. Active listening and paying real attention will pay dividends in your ability to relate to people and focus on the best solutions and outcomes.
These seemingly simple tips will have a remarkable effect on the brain’s capacity to function and cope with the daily load and help you be the leader you want to be each day.
“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power” Lao Tzu
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