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5 Signs You’re a True Leader and Not Just a Manager

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Think about a standout teacher, mentor, or colleague whom you admire. Chances are the reason this person made such a lasting impact on your life wasn’t because of their job title. It was about how you felt when you were in the room with them. It was their enthusiasm toward you, their commitment to a quality outcome, and their investment in the people around them—all signs of a true leader.

If you spend enough time in enough different conference rooms, you’ll come to recognize that there is a distinct difference between truly transformational leaders and those in name and title only. A few common patterns tend to stand out and are worth highlighting should you ever find yourself wondering which kind of boss you are working with, or which kind you are yourself.

Planning vs. preparation

As the saying goes, no good plan survives contact with reality. On most important initiatives, there are a thousand uncertainties and unknowns. Navigating a team through those uncharted waters requires careful planning. But it is the true leaders who recognize that merely having a good business plan is not enough.  

Careful planning is a fundamentally different mindset than careful preparation. The former is focused on creating a good way to get from point A to point B, whereas the latter is obsessed with maximizing the number of ways to achieve the mission.

Leaders operate on a deeper level than merely creating and following a well-thought-out plan; they are, ultimately, purveyors of contingencies and options. If you accept upfront that the plan can, and will, change multiple times, you prepare for that reality by identifying multiple paths to the goal and the inflection points where you’ll need to pivot. Being prepared to switch approaches without losing momentum is the key difference. 

Look to the past two years of living in a pandemic as evidence of why this adaptive approach is so crucial. More leaders have emerged simply because of their determination to problem solve, evolve, and thrive, even when the big picture looked bleak. Risk-averse managers have had a much harder time adjusting to working in new ways and, thus, struggled to keep pace with those leaders who prepared to adapt and kept moving.

Growth mindset vs. fixed mindset

Psychologist Carol Dweck famously coined the terms “growth mindset” and “fixed mindset.” In a nutshell, she concluded that a growth mindset is a belief that intelligence can be developed, whereas a fixed mindset concludes that intelligence is static. 

Leaders are motivated by growth and innovation, so they recognize that their teams have the ability to evolve and grow within the organization. Leaders actively work to help their teams level up over the long term to become collectively stronger. And, they hold an inherent belief that their responsibility lies more in helping their teams operate with a growth mindset, rather than always “brute-forcing” their way through the immediate work. 

For this reason, leaders aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves to protect their teams from the menial, administrative, or political distractions and give them the freedom and flexibility to experiment and creatively develop new solutions. Ultimately, high-performing teams are not created through sweatshops, but through the 80/20 rule, where 20% of the time is allocated to individual growth goals and team innovation. 

Supervisors motivated purely by productivity, on the other hand, often cause their teams to stagnate because they view their team through a more fixed mindset lens: people are in their roles to do that specific job and that’s what they need to keep doing. This perspective is often followed by a tendency to double down on productivity and relentlessly optimize, diminishing returns be damned. 

This lack of vision for individuals and their professional journeys creates a vicious cycle. It destroys passion, ambition, and trust, which decreases motivation, productivity, and team cohesion. Performance drops, and the corrective action to have people focus more and work harder only restarts the cycle. While this approach may often have short-term productivity gains, in the long term it becomes a structural shackle that weighs down team morale and effectiveness.

Knowing this, a leader will recognize that you have to trade short-term output to realize long-term value in the same way that sometimes you have to slow down to go faster.

Fostering relationships vs. protecting authority

Leaders leave a lasting imprint on their people because they take the time to foster authentic relationships and invest in others’ goals. They take the time to get to know everyone’s capabilities and understand not only how to best utilize their skill sets, but also how to best grow a person’s potential and inspire excellence.

But, if you’re operating from a fixed mindset, cultivating meaningful relationships is rarely a priority. When the goal is to keep people in their boxes, there is little room for encouraging aspirations. And without that personal connection to inspire, the only tool that is left is a reporting structure to require compliance. In this mode, management devolves from leadership to authority. 

Beyond hurting performance, management through authority rather than relationships hurts innovation. Team members with brilliant new ideas will not speak up if they have learned that their supervisors are quick to shut down any ideas that aren’t their own or aren’t coming from the top. A true leader will seek to foster a culture that encourages team members to develop and bring forward novel suggestions, and allow them to feel confident they will be heard by someone they authentically know and trust. 

Relationships create networks of trust and respect, both of which are critical for healthy information flow and team dynamics. On the other hand, naked authority only breaks down trust and respect because it substitutes merit and outcomes with rules and status; the success of the supervisors is disconnected from the success of the teams.

One telltale sign that you are working with a trusted leader is the number of people on their team who have followed them from other departments, functions, even companies. People rarely uproot themselves to continue working with someone unless they have a deep professional relationship.

Issue management vs. blame assignment

Let’s face it. When you get a group of smart, opinionated people together to work on a high-stakes, complex problem, passions are sure to quickly flare and conflicts will arise.

Closely related—and equally important—is the fact that issues and problems will inevitably arise with any complex project. No one is perfect and mistakes happen; information is often incomplete and this sometimes leads to incorrect decisions. How the team lead manages such conflicts and issues is another telltale sign of their leadership style. 

Seasoned leaders look beyond conflicts to root causes and address concerns head-on without hiding or obfuscating the underlying issue. They’ll often ask questions such as “How can I help?” or “What do you need from me?” Their focus is directed toward immediate mitigation and preventive actions to protect the team from being burdened by the same problem again. 

It is a wholly different matter when an issue or conflict is met by management with suspicion and an inquisition to find the blameworthy. The language you’ll hear is often fundamentally different as well, where instead of questions about support, you hear things like “What are you doing about this?” or “Who is responsible for this?”

As the saying goes, with leadership the buck stops here. Good leaders fundamentally understand that any mistake is ultimately theirs to shoulder, and they do not look for scapegoats or engage in political gamesmanship at the expense of their team. 

Driving success vs. avoiding failure

Leaders focus on achieving success while rule followers obsess about avoiding failure. While there are myriad ways you can fail, you only succeed by achieving your goals. Because leaders own that responsibility and do not play hot potato with the outcome, their team engagement style reflects this flexible mentality. 

True leaders focus on the ultimate objectives of their team efforts, not the specific means to get there. It’s not the punch list of tasks that gets the job done, but the underlying work that the task list is supposed to help navigate. Accuracy and thoroughness are, of course, critical to success, but management is intended to help work get done, not create work for the sake of management. 

Leaders evangelize a common vision and mission for why the work matters, what the ultimate goals are, and what good looks like. Their questions center around whether the team has everything it needs, about who is accountable for driving the outcomes, and whether those outcomes are of the highest quality.

Success frequently requires taking risks. Where a servant-leader will lean into uncertainty for the sake of the right outcomes, a self-interested supervisor will seek ways to limit their individual exposure at the expense of the collective outcome. 

Leadership is an art with a distinct style

Leaders drive to thrive while bosses struggle to survive. Leaders emerge while bosses are

Issue management vs. blame assignment

Let’s face it. When you get a group of smart, opinionated people together to work on a high-stakes, complex problem, passions are sure to quickly flare and conflicts will arise.

Closely related—and equally important—is the fact that issues and problems will inevitably arise with any complex project. No one is perfect and mistakes happen; information is often incomplete and this sometimes leads to incorrect decisions. How the team lead manages such conflicts and issues is another telltale sign of their leadership style. 

Seasoned leaders look beyond conflicts to root causes and address concerns head-on without hiding or obfuscating the underlying issue. They’ll often ask questions such as “How can I help?” or “What do you need from me?” Their focus is directed toward immediate mitigation and preventive actions to protect the team from being burdened by the same problem again. 

It is a wholly different matter when an issue or conflict is met by management with suspicion and an inquisition to find the blameworthy. The language you’ll hear is often fundamentally different as well, where instead of questions about support, you hear things like “What are you doing about this?” or “Who is responsible for this?”

As the saying goes, with leadership the buck stops here. Good leaders fundamentally understand that any mistake is ultimately theirs to shoulder, and they do not look for scapegoats or engage in political gamesmanship at the expense of their team. 

Driving success vs. avoiding failure

Leaders focus on achieving success while rule followers obsess about avoiding failure. While there are myriad ways you can fail, you only succeed by achieving your goals. Because leaders own that responsibility and do not play hot potato with the outcome, their team engagement style reflects this flexible mentality. 

True leaders focus on the ultimate objectives of their team efforts, not the specific means to get there. It’s not the punch list of tasks that gets the job done, but the underlying work that the task list is supposed to help navigate. Accuracy and thoroughness are, of course, critical to success, but management is intended to help work get done, not create work for the sake of management. 

Leaders evangelize a common vision and mission for why the work matters, what the ultimate goals are, and what good looks like. Their questions center around whether the team has everything it needs, about who is accountable for driving the outcomes, and whether those outcomes are of the highest quality.

Success frequently requires taking risks. Where a servant-leader will lean into uncertainty for the sake of the right outcomes, a self-interested supervisor will seek ways to limit their individual exposure at the expense of the collective outcome. 

Leadership is an art with a distinct style

Leaders drive to thrive while bosses struggle to survive. Leaders emerge while bosses are appointed. A dozen more catchy slogans to follow.

Beyond the stereotypes and the hype, there is a common pattern across the different personalities, management styles, seniority, and experience that identify true leaders.

Leadership is a style on its own. Look around to see where you can spot it.

. A dozen more catchy slogans to follow.

Beyond the stereotypes and the hype, there is a common pattern across the different personalities, management styles, seniority, and experience that identify true leaders.

Leadership is a style on its own. Look around to see where you can spot it.

Source AB

Business

Breaking Barriers: Celebrating International Women’s Day with Trailblazers in the Insurance Industry

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happy young people watching on a laptop

Introduction

International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of women worldwide and to advocate for gender equality. In the insurance industry, women have been making significant strides, challenging stereotypes, and reshaping the sector. This article delves into the experiences and insights of female leaders in insurance, shedding light on their journeys, successes, and the preconceptions they have faced.

1: The Rise of Women in Insurance
Women have been increasingly breaking into the traditionally male-dominated insurance industry, bringing diverse perspectives and driving innovation. The sector has seen a notable increase in female representation at all levels, from entry-level positions to executive leadership roles.

2: Overcoming Preconceptions
Despite progress, women in insurance continue to face preconceptions and biases. Female leaders often encounter challenges such as unconscious bias, lack of mentorship opportunities, and stereotypes about their abilities. However, many women have defied these expectations and excelled in their careers.

3: Insights from Industry Leaders
Prominent female leaders in the insurance industry share their experiences and perspectives on navigating challenges, fostering diversity, and driving change within the sector. Their stories offer valuable insights for aspiring professionals and highlight the importance of gender diversity in shaping a more inclusive industry.

4: Empowering Women in Insurance
To support the advancement of women in insurance, industry leaders emphasize the need for mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and initiatives that promote gender equality. Creating a supportive environment where women can thrive is essential for building a more diverse and inclusive industry.

5: Celebrating Achievements
On International Women’s Day, it is crucial to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women in insurance. By highlighting their successes and contributions, we can inspire future generations of female professionals to pursue careers in the industry and continue breaking barriers.

Top 3 Women Leaders in Insurance Industory

Inga Beale:


Inga Beale
is a prominent figure in the insurance industry, known for her groundbreaking role as the first female CEO of Lloyd’s of London, one of the world’s leading insurance markets. During her tenure, Beale focused on modernizing the market, promoting diversity and inclusion, and driving innovation within the industry. Her leadership has been instrumental in challenging traditional norms and paving the way for greater gender equality in insurance.

Pina Albo

Pina Albo is another influential woman in the insurance sector, currently serving as the CEO of Hamilton Insurance Group. With a wealth of experience in the industry, Albo has been a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion, championing initiatives to empower women in insurance and promote gender equality. Her strategic vision and leadership have earned her recognition as a trailblazer in reshaping the landscape of the insurance industry.

Amanda Blanc

Amanda Blanc is a respected leader in the insurance sector, having held various executive roles in prominent companies such as AXA and Zurich Insurance Group. Blanc is known for her strategic acumen, commitment to driving innovation, and advocating for diversity within the industry. As a vocal supporter of gender equality, Blanc has been instrumental in promoting women’s advancement in insurance and challenging stereotypes to create a more inclusive workplace environment.

Conclusion

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, let us celebrate the remarkable women who are shaping the future of the insurance industry. By sharing their stories, insights, and experiences, we can foster a more inclusive and diverse sector that empowers women to thrive and succeed. Together, we can create a more equitable industry where talent knows no gender boundaries.

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Justin Sun, Founder of TRON, Illuminates the Milken Institute Asia Summit

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Cryptocurrency on Mobile App

Introduction

In the realm of blockchain and cryptocurrency, few names shine as brightly as Justin Sun. As the visionary founder of TRON, he has consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation, making significant strides in the blockchain industry. Recently, Justin Sun had the honor of speaking at the prestigious Milken Institute Asia Summit, where he shared his insights, vision, and the future of blockchain technology. In this blog post, we’ll delve into Justin Sun’s remarkable journey, his accomplishments, and the key takeaways from his enlightening speech at the Milken Institute Asia Summit.

The Rise of Justin Sun

Before we delve into his recent appearance at the Milken Institute Asia Summit, it’s essential to understand Justin Sun’s remarkable journey and how he became a prominent figure in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Justin Sun was born in 1990 in the vibrant city of Qinghai, China. His journey in the world of technology began at a young age when he attended Peking University and later the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Master’s degree in Political Economy from the prestigious Wharton School.

Justin’s fascination with blockchain technology led him to become a disciple of Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group. Justin had the privilege of studying under Ma, learning valuable insights into entrepreneurship and the digital landscape. He emerged from this tutelage with a deep-rooted passion for blockchain technology, and he soon embarked on his path to becoming a leader in the field.

In 2017, Justin founded the TRON Foundation, a blockchain platform that aimed to create a decentralized internet. His vision for TRON was ambitious: to build a platform that would provide content creators with a direct, peer-to-peer connection to their audiences, bypassing the middlemen and gatekeepers that often control the distribution of digital content.

TRON’s Rise to Prominence

Under Justin Sun’s leadership, TRON quickly gained traction in the blockchain community. TRON’s native cryptocurrency, TRX, became one of the top cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. The platform also acquired BitTorrent, the world’s largest peer-to-peer file-sharing network, which further strengthened its decentralized ecosystem.

One of the defining moments for TRON was the launch of the TRON Mainnet in 2018. This marked TRON’s transition from being an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain to having its independent blockchain network. The Mainnet launch brought TRON increased autonomy and flexibility, allowing it to pursue its mission of creating a decentralized internet more effectively.

Justin Sun’s leadership and strategic partnerships played a pivotal role in TRON’s ascent. His notable partnerships with companies like Samsung and leading blockchain projects demonstrated his commitment to expanding TRON’s influence and creating real-world use cases for blockchain technology.

Keynote at the Milken Institute Asia Summit

Justin Sun’s invitation to speak at the Milken Institute Asia Summit was a testament to his growing influence and the relevance of blockchain technology in today’s world. The Milken Institute is renowned for its role in convening thought leaders, policymakers, and visionaries to discuss pressing global issues. Justin Sun’s keynote address at this prestigious event was eagerly anticipated.

During his speech, Justin Sun highlighted several key points that shed light on the future of blockchain technology and its transformative potential:

  1. Blockchain’s Role in Financial Inclusion: Justin emphasized the importance of blockchain in addressing financial inclusion. He discussed how blockchain technology has the potential to provide financial services to the unbanked and underbanked populations worldwide. By leveraging blockchain’s efficiency and transparency, we can create a more inclusive financial ecosystem.
  2. DeFi and the Future of Finance: Justin Sun discussed the rise of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and its impact on traditional finance. He pointed out that DeFi projects built on blockchain technology are democratizing finance, allowing individuals to access a wide range of financial services without relying on traditional intermediaries.
  3. NFTs and Digital Ownership: The discussion about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) was another highlight of Justin Sun’s speech. He emphasized how NFTs are revolutionizing the concept of ownership in the digital age. NFTs enable creators to retain ownership of their digital assets, which can include art, music, and even virtual real estate, through blockchain technology.
  4. Sustainability in Blockchain: Justin Sun addressed the issue of energy consumption in blockchain networks, especially proof-of-work (PoW) blockchains like Bitcoin. He highlighted TRON’s commitment to energy-efficient consensus mechanisms like Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS), which consume significantly less energy than PoW systems.
  5. Global Adoption of Cryptocurrencies: Justin Sun discussed the increasing adoption of cryptocurrencies worldwide. He highlighted how countries like El Salvador have embraced Bitcoin as legal tender and predicted that more nations would follow suit. He also touched on the potential for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) to play a significant role in the future financial landscape.
  6. Regulation and Compliance: Addressing concerns about regulatory challenges in the blockchain space, Justin Sun emphasized the importance of working closely with regulators to establish clear guidelines. He advocated for a balance between innovation and compliance to ensure the industry’s healthy growth.

Conclusion

Justin Sun’s keynote address at the Milken Institute Asia Summit was a testament to his vision and the transformative power of blockchain technology. As the founder of TRON, he has been at the forefront of blockchain innovation, working tirelessly to create a more decentralized and inclusive internet.

Through his speech, Justin Sun highlighted the potential of blockchain to reshape finance, digital ownership, and global commerce. His insights on sustainability and regulatory compliance underscored the need for responsible and sustainable growth in the blockchain industry.

As Justin Sun continues to lead TRON and advocate for blockchain’s potential, the world eagerly awaits the developments and innovations that will undoubtedly shape the future of technology and finance. His presence at the Milken Institute Asia Summit serves as a reminder of the profound impact that visionaries in the blockchain space can have on our rapidly evolving digital world.

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10 Small Business Tips to Succeed as an Entrepreneur

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woman in front of table

Introduction

Starting a small business can be exciting and challenging at the same time. As an entrepreneur, you need to navigate through various obstacles to ensure the success of your venture. Here are 10 valuable tips that can help you thrive as a small business owner:

  1. Define Your Vision: Clearly define your business’s purpose and long-term goals. A strong vision will guide your decisions and keep you focused on what matters most.
  2. Do Comprehensive Market Research: Understand your target market, competitors, and industry trends. This knowledge will help you identify opportunities, plan your marketing strategy, and make informed business decisions.
  3. Create a Solid Business Plan: A well-thought-out business plan is essential for any small business. It serves as a roadmap, outlining your objectives, strategies, financial projections, and potential challenges.
  4. Build a Strong Online Presence: In today’s digital age, having a robust online presence is crucial. Create a professional website, utilize social media platforms, and optimize your online visibility to expand your reach and attract customers.
  5. Provide Excellent Customer Service: Exceptional customer service can set your business apart from the competition. Focus on building strong relationships with your customers, addressing their needs promptly, and exceeding their expectations.
  6. Manage Your Finances Wisely: Stay on top of your financials by keeping accurate records, tracking expenses, and monitoring cash flow. It’s also important to separate your personal and business finances for better financial management.
  7. Embrace Innovation and Adaptation: The business landscape is ever-changing. Be open to new ideas, technologies, and market trends. Adaptability and innovation are essential for sustaining growth and staying competitive.
  8. Network and Collaborate: Networking with other entrepreneurs, industry professionals, and potential clients can open doors to new opportunities. Attend industry events, join business associations, and build meaningful relationships within your industry.
  9. Invest in Continuous Learning: Stay updated with the latest trends, techniques, and best practices in your field. Continuous learning will not only improve your skills but also keep you ahead of the competition.
  10. Take Care of Yourself: Running a small business can be demanding, but don’t neglect your personal well-being. Maintain a healthy work-life balance, practice self-care, and seek support from friends, family, or mentors when needed.

Conclusion

Remember, success as an entrepreneur doesn’t happen overnight. It requires dedication, perseverance, and the willingness to learn from both successes and failures. By implementing these tips, you will be better equipped to build a thriving small business. Good luck on your entrepreneurial journey!

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