I recently had the chance to attend Inbound13 in Boston, sponsored by Hubspot, and had the pleasure to hear several inspirational speakers. Arianna Huffington was one of those speakers. There were several messages that stood out for me at Inbound13. They are all essential in creating a meaningful experience for your audience as the industrialized economy has changed and is now the connected economy.
1. Be human
You may think that by constantly checking your email and worrying about all those unfinished projects at work, you're somehow proving your dedication to your job. The truth is that working around the clock is not beneficial for your professional life or your personal life. It's the people in all levels of the corporation that recognize what's really important and prioritize those things that make an impression on those around them. Rather than focusing on internal politics, focus on how you can help someone out. Offer to back-up your coworker while they're on vacation. Who knows, maybe they'll return the favor.
Working yourself to the point of exhaustion may give you some short-term gains on projects at work, but it's not sustainable. If you want to last, you need to find ways to re-energize. I love the fact that Arianna created a nap room at the Huffington Post for employees to use when needed. To be a good leader, you need to be able to think clearly and being well-rested is a great start! Personally, I like to read or take my dog for a walk to re-energize. Find something that helps you refocus and make time for it.
3. Speak up
The people who speak the loudest are not necessarily the ones with the best ideas. You may not be comfortable speaking in front of 5,000 people like Arianna did at Inbound13, but there are many ways for your voice to be heard. Be conscious of the different communication styles of those you work with. Try mixing things up and limiting your meetings to five or less people to see how the dynamics change. Try having a facilitated brainstorm session so the dominant personalities don't take over the conversation. I don't remember any breakthrough ideas coming out of big corporate meetings with 10-15 people involved in a series of endless conference calls.
4. Show emotion at work
That's right, it's no longer taboo to show emotion at work. I've been in the workforce since the '90s and I can say that this has NOT been the prevailing thought. In fact, many women I knew kept their morning sickness and pregnancies quiet until they absolutely had to tell their boss for fear of being passed up for a promotion or being at risk of not appearing committed to their job. Think how differently that employee would feel towards their company if they actually were able to discuss these things. It's OK to show you care about the lives of the people with whom you spend 8 to 10 hours a day. Showing emotion helps people connect.
5. Focus on Well-Being
Money and power are not the only pillars to success. There's a third metric that Arianna discussed that's equally important: well-being. You need to lead from a good place and learn how to disconnect from the chaos. People do not want to buy from selfish people. Showing humanity is important to make that connection. Many companies are embracing "wellness" plans to encourage their employees to live a healthier lifestyle. There's a reason for it. A healthier employee is a more productive employee. Take it a step further and focus on what's important to you to find your strength. For me, it's spending more time with family and friends and volunteering for our church. Do what's right for you!