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Leadership

If you manage people in your professional life, you shoulder a heavy load. While it has certainly been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my career to date, it’s also physically, mentally and emotionally taxing in many ways. Whether it’s just a few or a whole boardroom full of people, ensuring your team are performing up to expectations (or above!) with smiles on their faces is no easy feat… and that’s putting it mildly! In a world where research done by Gallup states that a mind-boggling 70% of an employee’s motivation is influenced by his or her Manager, there are some things you just can’t afford to do. But in the same breath, there are behaviours you can model and strategies you can use to ensure that you’re standing out in a positive way. Sure, everybody’s raving about you and your management style… but is it for the right or wrong reasons? Here are the 3 best and worst ways to stand out as a leader:

Hey, do me a favour and close your Inbox for a sec… Perfect! Next, hold down that ‘Power’ button and turn off your work cell… Awesome, thanks. Now for the love of all things sacred and Holy, please stop sending emails while you’re sitting down for dinner with your family! Sorry for the rant, but you need to know that being a workaholic isn’t cool. It doesn’t make you a better employee or person. It won’t make you a hero in the eyes of your colleagues or, well, anybody really. It isn’t even necessarily a predictor of success! Take it from me – a guy who blurred the lines between his time as an employee and as a son, brother, boyfriend, etc., for over 5 years – until making a career move a few months back: The work is going to be there tomorrow… and the next day… and the day after that. After some time to reflect, let me say this: having a work-life balance is one of the best things you can strive for in the world – and achieving it is entirely in your control. Don’t kid yourself – being addicted to work is a choice. The unfortunate truth is that we prioritize our ever-growing Inboxes and looming deadlines over so many other precious moments too often. The consequences can be life-changing, and in most instances, not for the better. During my time as an office addict, my health suffered, I missed countless family functions, I gained a ton of weight… But it doesn’t have to be this way. And frankly, it shouldn’t be this way. Here are a few unparalleled benefits of disconnecting from the world of work and spending more time with the rest of your life:

$4.2 billion in gambling. 30-second TV ads worth $5 million apiece. Over a billion chicken wings. Super Bowl 50 is nearly upon us…and clearly, nobody does it bigger than the NFL. While residents of the Carolinas and Denver are hyped up for their teams to lock horns in San Fran for football’s ultimate prize, I’m still feeling deflated over the Patriots loss a few weeks back (yes, pun intended). But despite not having a horse in this weekend’s race, there’s a part of me still looking forward to Sunday for a few reasons. Given its status as one of sports and entertainment’s largest social and cultural institutions, there’s a ton of slick production value that goes into promoting the Super Bowl and the teams involved. I’ve always loved getting to know specific players and coaches through the various interviews and featurettes that are published and created in the weeks leading up to the game itself. Super Bowl This year is no different and I’ve got the Carolina Panthers to thank for that. The combination of Cam Newton as MVP-to-Be Quarterback, Thomas Davis as unbreakable Linebacker and Ron Rivera as Head Coach has produced an almost perfect run to Super Bowl 50. An embrace of disparate personalities, a refusal to submit to doubt, a rock-solid culture and a vision – not a dream – have all propelled the Panthers to the biggest game of their lives. And along the way, I think they’ve truly inspired the fan base, their counterparts in the NFL and everyone else paying close enough attention. Here are a few of the lessons in leadership that Cam and company have taught me this season:

Wait, today's date is WHAT?!

No joke: February is right around the corner, and just like that, we're a month closer to 2017.

Time really does fly.

But hopefully you've spent the first 27 days of the New Year wisely, eliminating nasty habits from 2015 and getting after your professional and personal goals.

Truth be told, I don't normally struggle when implementing new tasks into my routine (just don't consult my waistline!)

For me, the hardest part has always been building and maintaining momentum.

It's one thing to introduce changes – but finding ways to make them stick is a whole other animal.

Come to think of it, it's no different with your brand.

How many times have you said “This is the year we blog!” or “I'm going to cut our marketing costs by doing XYZ!”

And in many cases, I'm sure you followed through.

But for a day... maybe a week?

Becoming a reputable brand that consumers want to do business with takes a measured, consistent and honest approach.

And it normally doesn't happen overnight either!

Here are 3 keys that will help you implement habits that produce results and ensure you maintain momentum:

I know that making New Year’s resolutions isn’t for everybody. And I have to admit, I’m on the fence as to whether or not it’s an effective practice, and that’s mainly based on let-downs from my past when the sobering realities of life crushed my unrealistic goals or strategies. But you’re lying to yourself if you think you don’t have anything to improve on in 2016. Nobody’s perfect, right? Some of us recognize this latter, much more logical notion but take it to the extreme, trying to improve in too many areas of our lives all at once, resulting in disappointment or failure. The key really, is to strike a balance between the constant desire for more and feeling satisfied with your efforts and results… but it’s actually quite difficult to accomplish. This is why I’m suggesting you make shaping your reputation – as a brand, person or professional – your primary resolution for 2016. This year, it’s time to focus on an area of your life you really can control: and by definition, your reputation is exactly that.