How To Be An Inspiring Leader (Even If You’re Not in a Position of Authority)

How To Be An Inspiring Leader (Even If You're Not in a Position of Authority)

You don’t need to be in charge to be someone others look to for guidance and leadership. Managers are constantly looking for standout colleagues they can trust who can command the reins while away from the team on pressing business. Here are a few specific ways you can become an inspiring leader.

Help Others Detach Fear From The Unknown

When there’s an apparent lack of leadership, imagination may run wild, leading to destructive speculation about what disasters await failure should a decision or project go awry. Instead of feeding the fear. Be the inspiring leader who diffuses those fears. Keep everyone focused on the task and the positive outcome that awaits the team once the work is done. You’ll become the person people approach for guidance when they experience unfounded fears over unknowable outcomes. 

Be The One Who Listens 

Everyone likes to hear themselves talk, especially when there’s no clear focus in the room, like a team leader or manager. Instead of competing to be the loudest voice in the room, listen. Qualify the ideas of others who speak up and bring others into the conversation by prompting their thoughts on the matter. By bringing everyone together through active listening and supporting your colleagues’ ideas, you’ll grow to become an anchor people look to for support when they’re trying to relay their ideas to the rest of the team. 

Quell Dissent

We’ve all been in a meeting where the second the manager in charge leaves the room; someone starts bad-mouthing their decision-making or directives. The time to nip that destructive talk is the first time it happens, but it’s never too late to step up and remind everyone to exercise a little professionalism. There are productive ways to disagree with management, but once a direction has been chosen, it’s the team’s job to deliver, and being the glue that holds a group in unison by dispelling destructive talk makes you someone who can be trusted to say what needs to be said.

When You Notice Greatness In Others, Say So

It’s encouraging to hear you’re doing well from your peers. Most people can spot a shallow or self-serving compliment from a mile away. Still, you’ll genuinely connect with your colleague whenever you can zero in on a specific, work-related job done exceptionally. Beyond that, tell their superiors what a great job they’re doing, especially if you’re on the same upward trajectory within the company! Doing so expresses confidence that others will value and look to whenever a genuine opinion is needed come performance review time. 

You Don’t Have To Be in a Position of Authority To Be A Great Leader

Ultimately, someone has to take the lead in group work settings to maintain focus, direction, and cohesion when the boss leaves her team to achieve their goals. That leader may as well be you. Consider these ideas, and when you see an opportunity to flex your leadership muscles, go for it! It takes time and lots of practice to become a great leader. Every opportunity is another chance to grow into the type of person others look to for guidance, inspiration, feedback, and reassurance. Get out there and cultivate your leadership qualities in your next team setting!

5 Ways To Stand Out In Team Meetings


Team meetings can become battlegrounds where colleagues jockey for position, jousting with words, experience, and presence for approval and consideration for advancement and accolades within companies of all sizes. Navigating tense meetings can often feel like make-or-break moments where careers are decided, and trust is forged or shattered with every contribution. 

So how can you stand out as a valuable, essential member during team meetings? Here are several great ways to make your mark during your next team meeting:

Be The Most Prepared Person In The Room

Study up on the meeting agenda before the meeting itself and come prepared with answers to questions you think others may ask. If the plan is vague, send a quick email to your manager or the meeting organizer asking for a quick rundown of the main topics they’ll bring to the table. 

Knowledge is power. When you arrive prepared, you’ll appear confident and reliable just by having a few choice contributions waiting in your back pocket compared to team members who just waltzed in late and are more concerned about their venti latte. 

Whenever you’re able to speed up a meeting by offering information immediately to answer a question or set up a topic of conversation, you’re showing you value everyone’s time enough to come prepared. In today’s high-speed corporate world, you cannot buy or fake this kind of trustworthiness. 

Those Who Are Loudest in Meetings Often Have The Least To Say

Being the person who jumps in the most during meetings often has a negative social effect overall, as teams will often equate that to “spotlight syndrome,” where they’ll feel an over-speaker is talking just to be heard and not for the good of the team. 

You do not have to be the one who answers every single question, nor do you need always be the first to offer up responses during pauses in the conversation to be noticed. Those who choose this strategy come off as selfish or attention-seeking for their efforts. The key is to speak efficiently when you do have the floor, stay on task, and treat those you’re talking to with a respectful benefit of the doubt. When you encounter teammates who are overstepping just to be noticed, let them. More often than not, they will fizzle themselves out as they flounder, trying to appear relevant, and when the conversation lulls as a result, you can swoop in with a concise talking point to bring everyone back on track, which will endear you to management and your colleagues for righting the ship.  

Kill Them With Kindness

Empathy is at a premium, and those who can not only maintain their composure during stressful meetings but help their colleagues do the same, are regarded with immense value by management during group meetings. Fear is a powerful motivator; it takes real emotional fortitude to see past the negative possibilities and focus on what is possible with earnest collaboration. 

If your contributions rally people toward the common goal, that’s the epitome of being a team player! Nay-saying and baseless argumentative “what-ifs” may sound productive on the surface but are usually fruitless fear-mongering that wastes valuable time and sows unnecessary worry throughout the team. Focus on being a thoughtful, positive contributor by uplifting others while reinforcing your positive contributions to the conversation.

Review The Previous Meetings And Thank The Presenter

While not necessary after every meeting, it is a thoughtful gesture to send a timely message of thanks to whoever championed the meeting and offer a few uplifting comments about specific insights you gleaned from their contributions. Most people will be surprised at first but will welcome a quick note of appreciation for the work they put into presenting in front of the whole team. 

Building connections this way will often open the door to collaborating or asking for your thoughts in the future, which is a great networking opportunity that can lead to projects and even promotions or future job opportunities!

Summarize The Expectations Going Forward Prior To The Wrap-Up

When the meeting is winding down, be the one who asks for clarification on the expectations for everyone between now and the next meeting. What are the expected goals team-wide? Who has to focus on which core responsibility? Does everybody understand what they must do between now and your next meeting? Are there any points of confusion that need clearing up before everyone breaks for lunch? 

By championing points of clarity for your team, you’re looking out for both individuals and the greater good of the entire team, which saves time and confusion for everybody and helps everyone hit the ground running!

Team meetings can feel treacherous, but if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be much more helpful, trusted, and welcomed during your next meeting.

Resolving Conflicts as a Leader

Resolving Conflicts as a Leader

Leaders are tasked with many different hats to wear, but one of the most significant responsibilities of a leader is to mediate and empower others to resolve their conflicts. These can range from disputes between colleagues or even employees having conflicts with management or upper-level employees.

Your job as a leader is one of great importance.

“Many leaders would rather avoid tension to create the appearance of harmony. What they don’t realize is that by avoiding tension all together they are unknowingly creating silos and internal disruption amongst employees.” (Forbes) The way you handle conflicts reflects on your character and the company culture you would like to portray.

While conflict resolution is never fun, it is crucial.

Genuine relationships, in and out of the office, are tested by conflict and the two parties’ ability to agree. After coming out on the other side, relationships tested by conflict are stronger and more trustworthy. “Effective leaders know that the most authentic relationships with their employees, clients, and external partners don’t truly begin until they experience some form of tension with them.”

As a leader, your job is to prepare other to face their conflict head-on with tact, grace, and impeccable timing.

If they address the conflict without enough evidence, it’s hard to have a solid foot to stand on. If they handle the conflict too late, they run the risk of others thinking you are trying to avoid it, which will not help them have influence in the workplace among their peers. “Timing is everything when it comes to managing conflict, and the best time to take action is when there is hard evidence/proof that an employee has a track record of wrongdoing that is negatively impacting the performance of others.” (Forbes)

With the amount of diversity in today’s workplace, it is easy for there to be conflict.

Leaders have the unique responsibility of trying to see from others’ perspectives while working to empower other to resolve their conflict. When you try, you can always learn something from seeing something from another person’s point of view, even if you still disagree in the end. “Rather than impose your influence, hierarchy, or rank – respect the unique differences in people. Learn to see things from differing points of view so you can better understand how to empower other to avoid conflict in the future.” (Forbes)

In conclusion, empowering other to resolve conflict as a leader is a vital skill that you can grow as you get more experience. No matter what–it is never the best solution to ignore conflicts. Your team needs to know that you, as a leader, can mediate situations as necessary for the workplace to function smoothly and efficiently.

Celebrate Your Accomplishments — Why It’s Important and How To Do It

Celebrate Your Accomplishments — Why It’s Important and How To Do It - Catherine Baskin

When was the last time you took a moment to celebrate your accomplishments? When did you last give yourself a big pat on the back? 

If the answers to those questions weren’t in the very recent past, this blog is for you!

As a leader, you’re likely focused on learning from mistakes of the past and moving forward with your eyes on a bright future. While these mentalities certainly have a seat at the table, it’s important to remember the value in the present moment — especially when it comes to pausing and taking the time to celebrate your accomplishments. 

To many leaders, this mentality can seem prideful or haughty, but celebrating your accomplishments actually have long term benefits for you, those you lead, and the overall health of your business. 

Did you know that celebrating your accomplishments will help you avoid burnout? 

One of the most common issues leaders face is burnout. As a leader, you’re likely pouring so much of yourself into your success of getting results and leading well Celebrating your successes actually releases endorphins, improving both your physical and mental states. These endorphins, paired with the celebration of successes, also create a connection of positive feelings and emotions to your work. 

By acknowledging your success and doing something to celebrate, you’re creating a reminder to your brain that your work is exciting, making you more enthusiastic about the work ahead. 

Celebrating your successes will help you identify what’s working! 

When you take the time to acknowledge your wins, you’re simultaneously reinforcing what’s working. Ask yourself, “What led to this win?” and “What made this so successful?” 

There’s definitely time to identify what didn’t work, but now is the time to give yourself and the team you’re leading a big pat on the back for the important steps you’ve taken towards your overall business development goals. 

When you celebrate yourself, you’re more likely to celebrate others. 

We’ve all encountered leaders who do a lot of celebrating themselves and very little celebrating others. On the other hand, there are many leaders who fail to recognize their successes and the successes of those they are leading. These leaders likely have a bad case of tunnel vision and are too focused on the future that they are unable to pause and celebrate themselves and those around them. 

One key to being a good leader is the ability to celebrate your own successes and be on the lookout for members of your team who deserve the same celebration. Creating an environment of celebration is key to creating a good place to work. 

Struggling to identify your own successes? Ask yourself some of the following questions:

“What have my major ‘wins’ been this past week/month/year?”

“What is my greatest accomplishment to date?”

“What important steps have I taken toward my bigger goals?”

“How did I surprise myself this past year?”

Take some time to jot down your answers in a notepad or journal. Star your top three accomplishments. 

Once you’ve identified your biggest wins, ask yourself, “How do I want to celebrate my success?”

Many leaders find it difficult to walk the fine line of celebrating success in a healthy way. It’s actually a good thing to be concerned with how you’re coming off when celebrating your own successes, and thankfully, there are many ways to do this tastefully. 

Depending on the success, it could be a big celebration or a small celebration — the difference between a nice cup of coffee at your favorite cafe or a trip to Hawaii with your spouse. 

What you do to celebrate your success is also highly personal. The idea is what is meaningful to you on how you want to celebrate your success. It doesn’t matter how small or large the celebration is as log as you celebrate to commemorate your success on some level. 

Maybe you want to include your family, your partner, or your team at work. Again, this is all up to you, after all, it’s your success! 

You can also choose to use this celebration as a motivation towards your goal. If you choose to do so, write down your goal and how you’ll celebrate if you achieve it and put it somewhere you’ll see it on a daily basis. There’s nothing like a tropical vacation to get you motivated in your work! 

Whether big or small, your successes are worth celebrating! So how are you going to celebrate your accomplishments this spring? 

Looking for guidance when it comes to leading a team? Learn how Aspirations Coaching Servicescan help you be a leader with a lot to celebrate! 

Company Values — Why You Need Them and How to Define Them

Company Values — Why You Need Them and How to Define Them - Catherine Baskin

What are company values and why are they important? 

Along with a mission and vision statement, every company needs a defined set of values. These values are defined by you and others in your company and act as the foundation of who you are and how you operate. Your values should be your guide in the midst of big changes or challenges, helping you stay true to your authentic self and who you want to become. 

How to Define Your Company Values

Defining your company values is an important step in building your company or organization. It’s likely not going to be accomplished in an hour long meeting in a conference room. In fact, it will require a lot of thought, dedication, and introspection.

So, who do you involve in the process? 

Every company is different, and this will likely depend on the size and closeness of your team. Are you a four-person team, a growing team of 100, or somewhere in the middle? 

Smaller teams have the luxury of including everyone in the process, if they so choose, while larger groups should assemble a smaller team within the organization. This team should likely consist of leaders and department heads, especially any visionaries who have proven valuable in processes like these. These people should also be willing and able to represent the rest of the team who isn’t involved in the process. 

How do you define your company values? 

We recommend that you make a day (or two) out of this process! It’s often good to get out of the office and into a new, neutral environment. Consider taking your team to a fun location, whether it’s for a stay overnight at a nice resort or a different, more exciting workspace, like a coworking space, a restaurant or coffee shop with a private room. 

This will hopefully inspire new ideas and eliminate the distractions of the office. If you’re able to, mute your notifications and pause all other tasks. 

Now that you’ve got the perfect space for getting your creative juices flowing, start brainstorming together. 

It will help to start by asking a set of questions and jotting answers down on a large sheet of paper or whiteboard. Some questions might include: 

  • What sets us apart as a company? 
  • What do we want to be known for? 
  • What are some words we’ve been described as? 
  • Who do we want to be in 5-10 years? 
  • What do we do that we are proud of? 
  • How do we act in times of challenge? 
  • What do we love about our jobs? 

Remember, at this point in the process, there is no wrong answer! Just write down anything and everything that’s said. 

From there, take time to refine your brainstorming session. Here are some steps for narrowing down your list: 

  1. Get rid of similar words and phrases — for instance, if you’ve jotted down “commitment” and “dedication,” pull up the definitions for each word and determine which one better describes what you are trying to say. 
  2. Throw the values into different categories, depending on what you came up with. You may find you have several about customer support, some about company culture, and others about innovation and change. Write some overall categories on a separate area of the whiteboard or paper and place each word or phrase into a category. 
  3. Rank your brainstorming results. Within each category, rank your items based on how true they feel to who you are and who you want to be — whichever items end up at the top of your list are likely contenders for your final list of company values. 

Once you have your list, take time to make sure they are true to you. 

Ask yourself the following questions… 

  • Are we willing to let these values direct our company? 
  • Would we be able to make important HR decisions based on these values? 
  • Are these values applicable to every area of our company? 

And finally, ask yourself if these values will challenge you to make the right decisions in times of challenges or change. 

Your values shouldn’t just affirm your current behaviors and approaches, but should push you to be better, smarter, and more impactful in the future. 

Defining your company’s values is a big deal and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but follow these tips and you’ll be headed forward on the highway to success! 

Need some help defining your company’s values or mission and vision statements? Aspirations Coaching Services is here to help you become the leader you are meant to be! 

5 Personality Traits of a Great Leader

5 Personality Traits of a Great Leader - Catherine Baskin

Anyone with an idea and some cash can start a business or an organization — it doesn’t take much — but whether or not this idea turns into something others can get behind, depends largely on whether the individual in charge is capable of leading well. 

It’s not a rare occurrence that someone starts a company, hires a team, and soon discovers that they don’t have what it takes to lead others. Being a great leader doesn’t always go hand in hand with financial success or notoriety, in fact, we’ve seen many “successful” companies led by individuals who are struggling to lead in the true sense of the word. When it comes to team dynamics, work-life balance, and employee satisfaction, the glistening facade is crumbling within. It’s not long before those cracks made by leadership failures and a decaying culture start to show on the surface and impact bottomline and public appearances. 

But what does it take to be a great leader? What does it take to create a team of people that work together, to foster trust and productivity in the workplace, and to truly make an impact that will last in your sphere of influence? 

We’ve created a list of the top five personality traits we believe every leader needs to possess and hone in order to be great! 

1. Passion

This one isn’t uncommon among leaders — good or bad. Most people on top are passionate about what they do, but it’s not always for the right reasons. Whether it’s money, fame, or power, there are many bad motivations behind passion. When a leader is either passionate about the wrong things or lacks passion altogether, they’ll likely find their team also lacks passion and simultaneously, results. 

However, when you’re passionate about the vision and mission of your work, your excitement is destined to motivate and inspire those around you! When the people you’re leading see how committed you are to the cause, they’ll be much more excited to be part of it! 

2. Confidence

Being a great leader requires confidence. Not only will confidence help you gain respect as an authority figure, it will also foster trust in your team — if you know what you’re doing, others will be excited to contribute their unique skills to the vision you are casting. On the other hand, be careful to not appear overconfident or prideful — pair confidence with humility (more on that later) and you’ll be good to go! 

3. Focus

Between the demands of leadership and the amount of passion required of a great leader, it can be a challenge to maintain clear focus. However, focus is key to being a successful and impactful leader. If you’re not focused, your team won’t be focused. 

While it is important to stay focused when it comes to day-to-day tasks, the focus we’re talking about here is big picture. As a leader, when you feel overwhelmed or distracted, remind yourself of the mission and vision of your company. Are you working on any projects or initiatives that are out of line with your overall vision? Are you on a tangent that’s not helpful to your goals? 

A great leader is always moving forward with the big picture in mind and can admit when they’ve gone astray. 

4. Trust

Nobody thrives in a work environment that lacks trust. Unfortunately, this is a huge struggle for many leaders. After all, if you’re passionate about what you do, it can be hard to trust others to do things “the right way” or to allow others into the decision making process. 

However, trust leads to delegation and delegation is vital to leading effectively. When you can trust those under you to do good work, your team will feel empowered and will learn, grow, and excel in ways you never believed possible. 

5. Humility 

Last but definitely not least, a great leader must possess humility. According to Zig Ziglar, “Humility will open more doors than arrogance ever will.” 

The best companion to the confidence required in great leadership is an equal dose of humility. A great leader has to be willing to admit wrongs and be focused less on self-promotion and more on the health and successes of the overall team. A humble spirit will make you approachable as a leader and create a team environment where it’s okay to make mistakes, admit them, learn, and move forward. 

If you’re leading a team and find yourself lacking in any of these five traits, that’s okay! There’s always room for improvement (that’s part of being humble) and there are plenty of resources out there as you seek to hone your leadership capabilities! 

Interested in learning how to become the best leader you can be?

Discover how Aspirations Coaching Services and will help mold you into a leader that inspires, takes action, and impacts those around you for the better! Discover how you will Aspire to reach your goals, collaborate with your coach, and succeed as a great leader!