How do you tell if someone is a highly effective leader? It’s not what they wear, or where they sit. It’s probably not the food they bring for lunch. And here’s a hint: it has nothing to do with the cars they drive.
Simply put, effective people are motivated, people. They are leaders and they know it and own it with humility and responsibility. Effective leaders are dedicated to their task and their teams, and they are always willing to go the extra mile. Effective leaders are organized, confident, and assured of their success. Most importantly, they always seem to have a notebook within an arms’ length of their chair.
Notebooks may not necessarily be the end-all-be-all of leadership tools, but they are an unequivocal aspect of today’s highly effective manager. A simple paper and pencil provides the opportunity to receive, record, recollect, and reconfigure relevant information for the betterment of a team or department.
It’s not hard to figure out how to use a notebook, and it certainly doesn’t require a subscription or SaaS program to operate. Even better, notebooks are incredibly affordable and easy to use within any occupation or industry.
Here are four simple ways that a notebook can enhance your leadership skills at work.
Planning For The Right Outcome
Start the meeting outright by planning for success before it ever happens. Consider the following:
- Anticipate the key details of what will be covered, even if you are not the one leading the meeting. Take ten minutes or less to record possible talking points, coverage zones, or speakers.
- Craft a short and informal agenda, including any possible outcomes. Indicate the spaces where the greatest amount of time or attention should be placed.
While it may feel strange during the first few attempts, developing these planning skills are absolutely vital for growing as a leader.
Journaling For Success
It may seem a little redundant, but taking journal notes of meetings, discussions, and committee conversations is an excellent way to move intangible concepts into tangible discussion points. Become a fulcrum for discussion and conversation by asking leading or probing questions about what is being said. While you take notes, think like a journalist:
- Record the poignant quotes that arise from the conversation. These do not need to be word-for-word, but they should be accurate to the concept at hand.
- If it works better for you, try sketching out any difficult concepts with an image or flowchart.
Remember that you can only write as fast as your hand writes. Don’t sacrifice quality for speed.
History, Not Mystery
Tight deadlines require an aggressive approach to daily tasks, making accurate records of past events critical. If you have ever found yourself asking, ‘what did we talk about?’ After a meeting, taking historical accounts of team interactions will be a good skill to develop. Enhance your leadership skills by:
- Recording the chronological order in which events need to occur. Pay special attention to deadlines and average workflows.
- Organize tasks and projects into areas that reflect their major themes. What has been done before to help encourage your current progress? Can it be implemented again?
Avoid missing the mark by organizing your itinerary around past themes, projects, and conversations.
Strategizing The Right Direction
You know where you want to go with your team; now you just have to get there.
- Write notes that end with a power verb or directive to yourself.
- Create action-oriented bullet points.
Allow your inner leader to delegate tasks through the use of action-word power notes.
How To Implement Notebooks Into Your Leadership
Effective leaders always keep a notebook with them, whether it’s a notepad in their back pocket or a few reams of paper in spiral wire binding. How they use it, what they write into it, and what ideas they implement among their teams are all thanks to the habit of writing everything down.
Learning to take notes or use a notebook can be difficult, especially for those who have avoided doing so in the past. By starting your notebook journey now, you will be able to fundamentally change the trajectory of your next client meeting, employee discussion, or team session. In all, you will learn to lead your team in the best ways possible.
Ready to get leading?
Now get writing!
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