TIME Singapore

Late Singapore Leader Lee Kuan Yew Had Opinions on Everything

Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, March 20, 2013 in Singapore
Wong Maye-E—AP Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, March 20, 2013 in Singapore

Singapore's founding father shared his opinions on everything from democracy and leadership to terrorism and his late wife

Lee Kuan Yew had a strong opinion about most anything. As he once said, “I have been accused of many things in my life, but not even my worst enemy has ever accused me of being afraid to speak my mind.” Here’s a sampling of his other pronouncements over the decades:

On Singapore

We have created this out of nothingness, from 150 souls in a minor fishing village into the biggest metropolis two degrees north of the equator.

I have had to sing four national anthems: Britain’s “God Save the Queen,” Japan’s “Kimigayo,” Malaysia’s “Negara Ku,” and finally Singapore’s “Majulah Singapura;” such were the political upheavals of the last 60 years.

One arm of my strategy was to make Singapore into an oasis in Southeast Asia, for if we had First World standards, then businessmen and tourists would make us a base for their business and tours of the region.

To succeed, Singapore must be a cosmopolitan center, able to attract, retain, and absorb talent from all over the world.

Singapore is now a brand name.

My greatest satisfaction comes from … mustering the will to make this place meritocratic, corruption-free and equal for all races—and that it will endure beyond me.

On Democracy

One person, one vote is a most difficult form of government. From time to time, the results can be erratic. People are sometimes fickle. They get bored with stable, steady improvements in life, and in a reckless moment, they vote for a change for change’s sake.

In new countries, democracy has worked and produced results only when there is an honest and effective government, which means a people smart enough to elect such a government. Elected governments are only as good as the people who choose them.

Contrary to what American political commentators say, I do not believe that democracy necessarily leads to development. I believe that what a country needs to develop is discipline more than democracy. The exuberance of democracy leads to undisciplined and disorderly conditions which are inimical to development. The ultimate test of the value of a political system is whether it helps that society to establish conditions which improve the standard of living for the majority of its people, plus enabling the maximum of personal freedoms compatible with the freedoms of others in society.

There is no level playing-field of any government helping the opposition to win votes.

The weakness of democracy is that the assumption that all men are equal and capable of equal contribution to the common good is flawed.

On the U.S.

For the next two to three decades, America will remain the sole superpower. The U.S. is the most militarily powerful and economically dynamic country in the world. It is the engine for global growth through its innovation, productivity, and consumption. Today and for the next few decades, it is the U.S that will be preeminent in setting the rules of the game.

What has made the U.S. economy preeminent is its entrepreneurial culture … Entrepreneurs and investors alike see risk and failure as natural and necessary for success. When they fail, they pick themselves up and start afresh.

On Terrorism

Militant Islam feeds upon the insecurities and alienation that globalization generates among the less successful. And because globalization is largely U.S.-led and driven, militant Islam identifies America and Americans as the threat to Islam. That America steadfastly supports Israel aggravates their sense of threat.

The war against terrorism will be long and arduous.

On China

China’s history of over 4,000 years was one of dynastic rulers, interspersed with anarchy, foreign conquerors, warlords and dictators. The Chinese people had never experienced a government based on counting heads instead of chopping off heads. Any revolution toward representative government would be gradual.

China’s neighbors are unconvinced by China’s ritual phrases that all countries big and small are equal or that China will never seek hegemony.

If the U.S. tries to thwart China’s growth, China will surely want to return the compliment when it can do so.

China wants to be China and accepted as such, not as an honorary member of the West.

On Leadership

I was never a prisoner of any theory. What guided me were reason and reality. The acid test I applied to every theory or scheme was: Would it work?

The acid test is in performance, not promises.

It is not from weakness that one commands respect.

As long as the leaders take care of their people, they will obey the leaders.

On His Late Wife, and Life and Death

She’s gone. All that is left behind are her ashes. I will be gone and all that will be left behind will be ashes. For reasons of sentiment, well, put them together. But to meet in afterlife? Too good to be true.

There is an end to everything and I want mine to come as quickly and painlessly as possible, not with me incapacitated, half in coma in bed and with a tube going into my nostrils and down to my stomach. In such cases, one is little more than a body.

Do not intervene to save life. Let me go naturally.

I am not given to making sense out of life, or coming up with some grand narrative of it. I have done what I had wanted to, to the best of my ability. I am satisfied.

Sources: Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World; Lee Kuan Yew: One Man’s View of the World; The Wit & Wisdom of Lee Kuan Yew

Read next: Global Leaders Pay Respects After the Passing of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew

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TIME Careers & Workplace

10 Ways to Make the Most Out of Conventions and Trade Shows

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Take a look at these 10 simple tips for getting your brand out there at trade shows

startupcollective

Every startup CEO needs to sell. Nothing is more important than getting your product out in the market and finding folks to pay real dollars for it. There’s no shortage of sales approaches — emails, cold calls, networking events, catchy banner ads, knocking on doors, etc. They’re all worth a shot.

But I’ve found that for my companies, I get the best ROI from attending conferences, conventions or trade shows. In two days at a conference, you can achieve what could take months sitting at your computer, all in a fun location. I’m writing this surrounded by palm trees in Miami, where it’s 75 degrees.

As with anything else, it pays to prepare for a conference. Based on my experience, I’ve come up with 10 tips to help you get the most out of every conference you attend.

  1. Plan ahead. Figure out the conferences that work best for your business (hint: they’re rarely the hyped startup conferences like SXSW, although those are a lot of fun). You’ll be amazed by how many associations and trade groups there are in every industry. Get creative. Go where your competitors aren’t. Keep a running list of all the conferences you hear about, and prioritize that list based on two key metrics: Who you will meet and how much it will cost.
  2. Do your homework. Look through every detail on the conference website. Check out who’s sponsoring, speaking and exhibiting. If that information isn’t available on the website, look at last year’s program. Decide whether it’s a conference worth attending. And once you pull the trigger, plan for specific sessions. Leave plenty of time to walk the exhibit hall floor. I’ve found that the best time to do this is during a keynote speech you don’t mind skipping. The floor is empty, so vendors will spend more time chatting with you.
  3. Be frugal but smart. Don’t let a limited budget get in your way. Go to a few conferences as an attendee before shelling out the big bucks for an exhibit booth. Find conferences that are close to your home. When traveling, crash with friends or use AirBnB to save on hotels. Conference registration fees aren’t cheap, so always ask for startup discounts. They’re not listed on the websites, but the organizers may just hook you up. Even if they say no, they may offer to walk the floor with you to show you around and make valuable introductions.
  4. Schedule meetings. Reach out to industry experts, vendors, and conference organizers in advance. Introduce yourself and ask them for a few minutes of their time while you’re at the conference. I’ve found that sending an email and a LinkedIn message at the same time gets the highest response rates. Before sending out cold emails, check LinkedIn for mutual contacts who may be able to introduce you. And write concise messages (five sentences max)!
  5. Be persistent. You won’t hear back right away from most contacts. Conference speakers and organizers tend to be busy folks. Give it a few days, then send a follow-up note. If they don’t reply before the conference, don’t take it personally.
  6. Stay organized. I email anywhere from 50 to 200 people per conference. There’s no way to keep track of all those emails without a system. I use Google Docs spreadsheets, where I list all the key information for each contact (name, title, email, status, interesting facts, etc). Use whatever system works best for you to stay organized. And stick to it.
  7. Know what you’re looking for. On the plane to the conference, write down key objectives and critical questions. Then show up with a laser focus. It’s all too easy to get distracted by the overwhelming number of sessions, exhibit halls full of tchotchkes you’ll never use and free booze. But remember that you are there to learn and establish connections. Ask questions. Sales will come if you approach the conference with patience and humility. Companies want to help you if you’re a startup looking for advice, rather than a nagging salesman.
  8. Be social (media). You’re probably younger and more social-media savvy than the rest of the attendees. Use that to your advantage. Tweet about the conference using the official hashtags. I did that recently, and on the last day they presented a wrap-up full of attendee’s tweets. Mine kept popping up on the screen, and the presenter thanked my company for its “terrific tweets.” As you can imagine, this was great free publicity for us.
  9. Be social (-izing). Don’t get stuck on your phone or sitting in conference sessions all day. Networking events are where you’ll strike up those all-important conversations. Even if they cost an extra few bucks, sign up. Remember to bring lots of business cards, and go light on the vodka shots (unless you’re at the U.S. Drinks Conference, in which case the shots may be acceptable). And don’t just limit your socializing to the formal events. The more open you are to striking up conversations, the more doors you’ll open.
  10. Follow up. If you follow these tips, you’ll collect dozens of business cards at the conference. But that’s just the beginning. On the plane back home, write a personalized email to every contact. Briefly rehash what your company does and why it could be interesting for that contact. Send emails that are friendly, personal and short, and watch the replies fly in.

Happy hunting! Looking forward to seeing you at a conference soon.

David Adelman is the Head of Business Development and Growth Strategy at Snagajob, America’s largest marketplace connecting hourly job seekers and employers. Prior to Snagajob, David founded two video startups- Reel Tributes and ReelGenie. David graduated with an MBA from Wharton and an AB from Harvard, and lives in Washington, DC, with his wife Melissa and Shih Tzu puppy Samson.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

This article was originally published on StartupCollective.

TIME Business School

5 Things You Can’t Learn in Business School

Howard HBCU
Jonathan Ernst—Reuters Graduates celebrate during the 2014 graduation ceremonies at Howard University, a well-known HBCU, in Washington on May 10, 2014.

An MBA will help your career but some skills you need to learn outside campus

Let me start by saying that I have an MBA and am proud of my alma mater. Business schools provide a valuable education and professional network, but there are some skills they can’t always cultivate:

  1. Ethics. Teaching ethics as a course is difficult to begin with. As a result, business schools often focus on how ethical behavior can help companies improve their profits, which makes sense. But while honest business practices are definitely essential to the well-being of a company, real ethics require taking the profit motive out of the equation in order to be genuine. Outside of the MBA program, students themselves need to recognize that ethical behavior is its own reward instead of a cost-benefit equation.
  1. Humility. Business schools, especially those that turn out high-octane bankers and executives, can fail to balance the confidence that they inculcate in their graduates with humility. This breeds arrogance, which can harm businesses. Like ethics, humility is challenging to teach in a classroom, but the result of ambitious people exerting authority in organizations without recognizing their limitations can be disastrous. MBA programs could do more but companies themselves are better positioned to address this issue; they can engender humility by putting employees through the paces and emphasizing self-awareness before giving them more control.
  1. Diplomacy. The ability to navigate volatile situations or people at work, to negotiate with your peers or boss without creating an argument, and lead an organization without resorting to a draconian management style is an invaluable asset. In its simplest form diplomacy is tact, in a deeper form, true empathy with others. This can enable you to disagree with your co-workers or build consensus with minimum friction and maximum effect. But since this is more an art than a professional skill, business school students should make an effort to learn it outside. Today’s workplace, populated by millennials who demand more respect and empathy from companies than previous generations, requires diplomacy more than ever.
  1. Deconstructive thinking. Deconstructive thinking is about breaking a business situation into its component parts and reassembling it in an optimized fashion. For example, the CEO of a bakery chain looking to enter a new market might modify his company’s supply chain so that he can deliver bread to retailers from the closest distribution points, thereby minimizing transport costs and ensuring freshness of the product. Lengthy analysis can lead to the same result but the real skill is in being able to rapidly see the full picture with all its intricacies, and adapt. An MBA can help develop this faculty only partially; most of it comes from prolonged work experience.
  1. Judgement. The modern business world, with its heavy and fast-paced workload, requires constant prioritizing and the aptitude to differentiate between the important and the irrelevant. Yet many business school graduates enter the workforce seemingly without the judgment to do effective triage. The likely reason is an overemphasis on ‘productivity’ instead of ‘efficiency’. Think of it as working hard rather than working smart. MBA programs, probably responding to the rigorous demands of today’s job market, are more concerned with developing reliable workhorses than in cultivating thoughtfulness in how those people perform their jobs. But students can pick this up on their own by asking the simple question: ‘what’s really important?’

As business schools increasingly require prior work experience for new students, you may gain some of the above skills through interaction with your peers, and an MBA will still help you further your career. But recognizing the limits of a classroom education is also important for rounding out your professional skill set and setting you on the path to success.

Sanjay Sanghoee has an MBA from Columbia Business School. He has worked at investment banks Lazard Freres and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, and at hedge fund Ramius Capital.

Read next: 10 Resume Mistakes That Can Cost You a Job

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TIME Careers & Workplace

7 Behaviors That Strong Leaders Do Not Display

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Being a strong leader requires equal amounts of self-awareness, self-management and humility

Most people associate a weak leader with being docile, deferential, timid or meek. While that may have some merit, weak leaders can also be bombastic, egocentric, domineering, dictatorial and imperious. Even if you are successful at adding to the bottom line, bringing in new clients or developing new products and services, if people are not seeking you out or jockeying to be on your team, you are a weak leader.

Here are seven behaviors that beset a weak leader:

1. Your team routinely suffers from burnout.

Being driven and ambitious are important traits for successful leaders. However, if you are excessively working your people or churning through staff, than you are not effectively using your resources. You may take pride in your productivity by doing more with less, but today’s success may undermine long-term organizational health.

Crisis management can become a way of life that reduces morale and drives away or diminishes the effectiveness of dedicated people. With any business, there are times when you have to burn the midnight oil but it should also be accompanied with time for your team to recharge and refuel.

Related: How Google’s Marissa Mayer Prevents Burnout

2. You avoid making the tough call.

A decision needs to be made and you are dancing around the situation. This can stem from the need to be 100 percent certain or not having confidence in your abilities. So you keep sending people off to find more facts in order to get as close to 100 percent as possible. Routinely you wait until the last possible moment so if the decision turns out to be off the mark you can say “we” ran out of time or “we” did not have all the information. In the meantime, you hold up the process and have people spinning their wheels searching for certainty (that more often than not does not’t exist) while other work is not getting done.

3. You do not provide adequate direction.

You are in a rush to get a project or assignment underway but you have not thought through what you want. You gather your team together for a quick kick-off meeting and start thinking out loud. Your meandering unfocused thought process leads to divergent tangents that are contradictory and leave people confused. At the end of the meeting, you still have not clearly communicated concrete goals and objectives and many murky areas are left open to interpretation. Ultimately, you’re leaving it up to the team to figure out and take the “I’ll know it when I see it approach”. As the team leaves the meeting they quietly whisper, “Here we go again”. Knowing the assignment will be a chaotic mess.

4. You belittle your team members in a public setting.

Dressing down someone on your team in a meeting or public setting is a fast track to a bad reputation as a leader. You may think that what someone did or said was stupid. Making a point of it in a meeting only demonstrates that you are unstable and a loose cannon.

Weak leaders will habitually demean others as a way of making themselves look or feel better. If someone is deserving of constructive criticism, do it in private. Creating a spectacle in a meeting in which you make everyone uncomfortable does not put you in power position. Quite the contrary, good people will not tolerate such actions and you will be left with a feeble team that will deliver mediocre results because they are afraid of you.

Related: 3 Questions to Ask to Determine If You Are a Good Leader

5. You make commitments but do not follow through.

You routinely swoop into an important client meeting, and to assert your position, you seize the moment with grand gestures and assurances that you will personally see certain actions through. This makes you look good for the moment but once you have received your glory with the client there is no follow through on your promise(s). You move on to the next big thing and the rest of the team is left to pick up the slack and figure out how to address what the client thinks is a done deal. Over time, this is will diminish your credibility and people will view you as all talk and no action.

6. You ask multiple people to work on the same request independently.

This may seem like a good idea since you will have more to choose from and a greater probability it will get done to your satisfaction. However, when people find out, they will feel angry and frustrated because you have pulled multiple people away from their regular assignment to work on your special project. This is especially damaging if you do not use someone’s work. It will signal that you do not trust either of them enough to do the job. Or it will mean you take a scattershot approach to managing the business hoping that something will stick. In either case, it will begin to erode your leadership position.

7. You don’t provide honest feedback.

In order not to hurt someone’s feelings, or to keep them happy, you do not provide truthful actionable feedback. This can be about their performance, likelihood of being promoted or whether you see them as a long-term player on your team or with the company. By skirting the issue you create unrealistic expectations for the person on your team and confusion when implied promises are not kept. Left unchecked, people will place little credence in what you say assuming everything that comes out of your mouth is a half-truth. Providing tough, yet fair, feedback is a hallmark on a strong leader. In the long run, people will appreciate your candor.

Being a strong leader requires equal amounts of self-awareness, self-management and humility.

Related: Turns Out, Humility Offers a Competitive Advantage

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

TIME Next Generation Leaders

Mark Zuckerberg Has Advice for Young People Who Want to Change the World

Mark Zuckerberg attendes Mobile World Congress 2015
David Ramos—Getty Images Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote conference during the first day of the Mobile World Congress 2015 at the Fira Gran Via complex on March 2, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.

The Facebook founder and CEO knows experience isn't everything

Advice is a valuable commodity when it comes to learning leadership. But according to Mark Zuckerberg, sometimes listening to yourself is the most important advice.

The Facebook CEO held a town hall-style question and answer session at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Mar. 4, where he addressed topics such as his hiring practices, the ideal team size and working with Sheryl Sandberg.

But one of the most insightful moments from the Q&A came when Zuckerberg was asked what advice he had for young people with world-changing ideas. The 30-year-old billionaire said, “The most important thing is to just have faith in yourself and trust yourself. When you’re young, you hear that you don’t have experience to do things, that there are people that have more experience than you. [But] I started Facebook when I was 19.”

“Don’t discount yourself, no matter what you’re doing,” he continued. “Everyone has a unique perspective that they can bring to the world.”

Read next: The One Question Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Asks About Every Potential Hire

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TIME leadership

3 Books Every Leader Should Read to Be Successful

Frank Gehry has selected personal favorites for his 'Curated Bookshelf' at Louis Vuitton's London flagship. The shelf is located in the first-floor librarie.
Jessica Klingelfuss

Teachings from the best in the business world

As an employee, you function mostly as a solitary unit. You do your part, produce your “output,” and the work is done. But as a manager (or more precisely, a leader—managers manage tasks, leaders lead people), everything changes. Your success is no longer about your own output, it’s about other people’s — the most important work you do is often what enables other people to do their jobs. But finding your way can be difficult. So in honor of National Book Month, here are three books that every leader should read to succeed.

High Output Management by Andy Grove

Key points: Grove’s book, reflecting on his time as Intel CEO in the 1970s, remains relevant today because of the basic principles it outlines: As a leader, you are an enabler of others. Your team’s performance, not your own output, is what you are judged on. Grove also shares five key things that should inform and govern your time: decision making, information gathering, information sharing, nudging and role modeling. If you are spending significant time doing things outside of those five key areas, it might be worth rethinking your schedule.

Best quote: “The art of management lies in the capacity to select from the many activities of seemingly comparable significance the one or two or three that provide leverage well beyond the others and concentrate on them.”

Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? Inside IBM’s Historic Turnaround by Lou Gerstner

Key points: Compared to High Output Management, which can read a little like a textbook, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? is practically a thriller. Gerstner’s well-known memoir about the turnaround of IBM is a vibrant book on leadership during a challenging time. It’s about transformation. Gerstner touches on the importance of speed and a clearly communicated set of principles—especially across a company as large as IBM was at the time. Gerstner also talks about the issues big companies run into with mid-level talent: “People do what you inspect, not what you expect.”

Best quote: “I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.”

The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company by John Rossman

Key points: This is by far the easiest read of the three in this post, but it’s also the most effective at providing prescriptive and actionable leadership advice. Rossman, a former Amazon executive, decodes a lot of the behind the scenes at Amazon and points to what is most important at a company that complex: decision making and ownership. The owner of a project or product doesn’t have to be the most senior person at the organization. In fact, it can be a very junior person. But this person is the sole person responsible for the project’s outcome.

Best quote: “Amazon.com employees quickly learn that the phrase ‘That’s not my job’ is an express ticket to an exit interview.”

Have your own favorite leadership books? I’d love to hear them—tweet at me @cschweitz.

Read next: 4 Biggest Myths About Being a Great Leader

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TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Ways to Transform Yourself Into a Leader

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Successful people are simply willing to do what other people aren’t

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

After months of effort, you finally land the promotion you’ve had your eyes on. On paper, it’s your dream job: You have a bigger team under you, more exciting responsibilities, a direct line of communication to the big boss, a salary that’sactually competitive, and of course, the highly anticipated corner office.

But the day-to-day reality isn’t unfolding quite as you’d hoped.

You’re getting apathetic vibes from your employees, and you don’t know why. You’re doing everything you’re supposed to be doing—managing projects, directing traffic, juggling deadlines and budgets. You’ve even tried bringing cupcakes to the office, but your team’s energy seems to evaporate as soon as the sugar high wears off. You’re left wondering: What more could they possibly want?

Data tells us that today’s employees want a lot more out of their jobs. In our increasingly educated workforce, employees are no longer satisfied to punch a clock and collect a paycheck. They don’t want to blindly follow instructions handed down from the manager; they want to feel empowered. In fact, recent research shows that teams managed by motivators perform better than those that are too heavily controlled by a designated supervisor.

In short, employees want a Tony Robbins, not a Donald Trump.

No one is saying you need to convene a daily kumbaya circle, but there are some practical steps you can take now to up your game and elevate yourself from a manager to a leader.

1. Leaders Know How to Listen

Leaders listen to everyone, even those who might not have as much “experience” as other people in the room. In my last corporate job, I worked for the CSO of a Fortune 100 company. At team meetings, he would sit back quietly while the VPs jockeyed loudly for his approval. He would let them monopolize the forum for a little while, and then he would turn his attention to someone who hadn’t bothered to try to compete with the dog and pony show. “What do you think?” he’d ask, giving that person all of his attention. It brought out the best in the quieter people, and it humbled the louder ones.

The best leaders treat brainstorming as a democracy of ideas. One way of getting more invested participation from your employees is to introduce a weekly team meeting where new ideas are solicited from each person. This is a great way to strengthen the team mentality, showing your employees that you want and welcome their brilliance. (Here are a few more strategies for listening better.)

2. Leaders Know the Difference Between an Amateur and a Pro

Leaders earn their stripes through consistent displays of professionalism, not by taking the shortcuts we so often see from amateurs. According to Steven Pressfield, author of Turning Pro, “the difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits. We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.” The amateur calls in sick when he’s had too much to drink the night before; the professional shows up early and does his best work, even if his physiology is hating him. If it means he has to give 150% to get the job done, that’s what he gives it. The leader takes full responsibility for his actions and, by doing so, imparts the message to those around him that they need to do the same.

3. Leaders Leave Their Egos at the Door

A true leader does whatever is required to get the job done. If that means manning the copier, making the midnight coffee run, or assembling folders, that’s what the leader does, even if his paycheck and title suggest such jobs are “beneath” him. This approach not only guarantees that the work gets done; it also does wonders for the energy levels on the team.

One way to implement this is to pay attention to the unique brilliance of each employee on your team. If you see that people are exceptionally good at something, offer to take some work off their plate so you can free them up to make better use of their skill set. If you’re coming up blank on ideas for them, ask them what they’d like to do more of. They will respect you for getting your hands dirty, and they’ll appreciate you for making them feel seen and heard.

4. Leaders Live Outside Their Comfort Zone

Playing a big game doesn’t always feel natural or comfortable, but it’s a choice that true leaders make again and again. As kids, we are often conditioned to go with the grain and to avoid disrupting our environment. We often keep ourselves from really being seen, and from being different. The problem here is that this encourages us to grow into very average adults who only feel comfortable when we’re playing small.

I’ll never forget the moment I stepped backstage at TEDxBerkeley. As the least seasoned speaker at the time (hello, I went on after Guy Kawasaki), I thought I’d definitely be the most nervous in the room. Boy, was I wrong. The whole group backstage—best-selling authors, innovators, serial entrepreneurs—were all panicked. Nothing this rewarding can possibly exist in your comfort zone, and it’s the leaders who are willing to wake up daily, stepping outside of theirs.

5. Leaders Have Emotional Fitness

Emotional intelligence—the ability to read and connect with just about anyone in the room—is great, but it doesn’t sustain you in times of uncertainty and instability. It wasn’t until I became a career coach that I learned the importance of emotional fitness. Emotional fitness is your ability to flexibly endure the ups and downs of business and life. The difference between managers and leaders is the way they react to and process the failed deals, the lost clients, and even the busted refrigerator in the break room. Managers freak out, sending tiny ripples of panic and chaos through the rest of the team. Leaders tap into an inner Buddha, an unwavering stillness that empowers them to take a deep breath and keep moving forward.

If I could impart one final insight on you, it’s this: Successful people are simply willing to do what other people aren’t. In exchange for giving more of themselves, they reap much bigger rewards.

They are also patient. Pressfield says, “our work is practice. One bad day is nothing to us. Ten bad days is nothing.” If you are committed to becoming a true leader, don’t be discouraged if the situation doesn’t change overnight—leadership, like all forms of self-improvement, is a journey, not a destination. True leaders understand that it’s not about where they go; it’s about who they become.

More from The Muse:

TIME Careers & Workplace

How to Disagree With Your Boss and Still Get Ahead

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Disagreeing with your boss in the right way can benefit your organization as well as your career

The fear of disagreeing with authority is universal. It exists in life, and certainly in the regimented corporate workplace. While millennials are arguably more willing to express their opinions to a superior, most workers still remain shy – to the detriment of their career progress.

The fact is that it is not only possible to disagree with your boss without endangering your job, but the willingness to do so could put you on the fast track to professional success. What we tend to forget is that most managers benefit from having their employees provide constructive feedback and contribute original ideas. It can help the managers do their own job more effectively and easily.

The key lies in why and how that disagreement is communicated. Here are 5 tips that can help you navigate those waters successfully:

  1. Make sure you are disagreeing for the right reason. Too often, we disagree to compensate for our own lack of authority, without a good reason or an end goal in mind. That’s a serious mistake since it can compromise your professional credibility with your boss. It’s also just annoying. Disagreements that have a valid context and add real value, on the other hand, can be a big plus.
  2. Disagreeing is not about arguing but making an argument. Anyone who argues routinely with their boss is likely to be eventually fired. But a worker who frames her disagreement as a logical and thoughtful argument in favor of a better approach to a situation or a new idea will be heard gladly, and win serious points with the boss. Avoid attacking other people’s views or complaining and focus instead on making your own constructive points.
  3. Do your homework. Nothing irks a manager more than a worker who insists on sharing his opinion but hasn’t done the research to support and stress test his argument. It shows intellectual laziness on the part of the worker and fails to provide the manager with the tools to evaluate the input. Think about it. If you don’t do your homework, you are effectively forcing your boss to do it for you. Could that ever be a good idea?
  4. Be passionate but not emotional. Arguments are more convincing when they are delivered with passion. The listener needs to feel that you genuinely care about your suggestions, believe in your perspective, and are willing to take ownership of it. But that doesn’t need to involve an excess of emotion, which can make you look hysterical and your boss feel pressured. A clear, confident, and calm presentation will have the best impact.
  5. Speak in the same language as your boss. Some people are extremely data-driven whereas others are more intuitive. Knowing your boss’ personality will help you relate better and communicate your argument more effectively. Put yourself in your boss’ shoes. If you think in numbers, then a numerical argument might persuade you of a different viewpoint whereas a purely gut-based presentation will meet with instant skepticism.

To summarize, don’t be afraid to disagree with your boss. Alternative views and good ideas can benefit your organization as well as your own career. Just follow these guidelines to do it the right way.

Sanjay Sanghoee is a business commentator. He has worked at investment banks Lazard Freres and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, at hedge fund Ramius Capital, and has an MBA from Columbia Business School.

TIME Careers & Workplace

3 Things Good Managers Say Instead of ‘I Don’t Know’

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Don’t rush to give just any answer

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

Picture this: You’ve been promoted to manager because your supervisors have confidence in your ability to lead and inspire. It feels great! You love helping your direct reports do their best work, and you smile when see that “Director of” title on your business card.

Yet, there’s one situation that your prior experience and those Management 101 books seemed to overlook: what to do when you’re supposed to have answers for your team and, unfortunately, you have no clue.

Although you may feel that you need to give an immediate response every time someone runs into your office with an issue, this is a critical first step to take: Stop. Seriously. Don’t rush to give just any answer. And though it feels tempting, avoid saying “I don’t know.” What feels like a conclusive statement to you actually sounds like ellipses to your team. It leaves them hanging and creates more questions.

When you reach these critical moments, pause, collect yourself, and consider these approaches:

1.“I don’t have the information I need to give an answer. I’ll find it.”

In retrospect, when I’ve said “I don’t know,” it has been because the situation was new—software that I had never used, projects and stakes that I had never encountered. In those moments, though, I could have taken a moment to evaluate the data from past projects that had similar deliverables or challenges.

For example, if the question from a team member is, “How much time should I devote to making this storyboard?” and I’ve never made one myself, I can still be helpful. Rather than saying “I don’t know” or deferring to “Use your best judgment” (which sometimes feels like a cop-out), I can refer to the hours that we’ve tracked for past storyboards and how long clients took to approve them. This gives a range for the expected time and, most importantly, provides guidance and support for the team.

Even if it takes time and research to find the answer, do it. Your team will trust and respect you when they see that you’re committed to helping them.

2. “Let’s have a quick brainstorm.”

The creative process works best when at least two minds can riff of off one another—together, you can often devise more solutions together than were possible separately.

So, take five minutes to connect with your colleagues and run a few exercises (like these) to clear the mental blocks you may be having. Even if your team members are asking you because they’re less familiar with the project or issue than you are, brainstorming can still be effective—in fact, their perspective as “outsiders” may bring fresher thinking. In either case, in addition to creating more options for solutions, you also create more collective ownership of the outcomes among the team.

3.“I know an expert who can help with this.”

Of the three approaches I’m sharing, this is the toughest because you are plainly admitting that someone knows better than you do. But rather than causing concern (or doubt in your abilities) by saying “let’s escalate this,” you’re still showing confidence that an answer can be found.

Senior managers or company advisors with specific knowledge can be great resources. You could even share it with mentors in your own network—remember, they’re not exclusively there for emergencies (this isn’t Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?), but as a “board of directors” for areas in which you’re not as strong.

Remember, no one expects you to know everything. Having a wide pool of resources to draw from when necessary will inspire confidence among your team.

In times of uncertainty, remember that leadership doesn’t mean always having the answers. It means always being committed to finding them.

More from The Muse:

TIME Careers & Workplace

4 Key Leadership Lessons From Top Female Executives

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With the right mindset and the proper approach to execution and leadership, women can rise to higher posts and endure less gender bias over time

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Recent studies have revealed something that many savvy women have known all along: women are good for business. With so many women-run startups cropping up and more companies looking to create diverse boardrooms, women are proving to deliver tangible and intangible advantages. A recent analysis by Fortune revealed that Fortune 1000 companies with female CEOs earn higher stock market returns than those with male CEOs.

In spite of the evidence that women are a tremendous asset to businesses, many women find themselves struggling to cement their roles as leaders while managing the social complexities of the workplace. I know first hand what it’s like to watch a male peer effortlessly receive and keep the respect of a team while I invest a significant amount of time and energy building relationships and proving my capabilities.

The good news is that women continue to rise through the ranks to sit on boards, run companies and launch successful startups. With the right mindset and the proper approach to execution and leadership, women can rise to higher posts and endure less gender bias over time.

I tapped four of my favorite female executives to get their thoughts on the best approach to leading in the workplace as a woman. Here’s what they had to say.

Invest Time Upfront in Finding the Right Hires

Following her successful launch and sale of her first startup, Stacey Ferreira, Co-Founder of AdMoar, is using her leadership skills to build a new disruptive company. As a leader in a male-dominated industry, her perspective centers on proper team building.

“I think that success in leading a team comes first and foremost from making the right hiring decisions. As a founder, one of the best ways you can spend your time is finding the right people to hire who will contribute to expanding the company vision, executing to make that vision happen and contribute to a positive company culture. If you invest the time upfront, find the right hires and onboard them effectively, then you won’t run into many problems leading the team. Once you’ve found those people, giving them the responsibility and freedom to create and execute with regular check-ins works well for small-to-medium-sized companies.”

Look for Complementary Skill Sets

Knowing where your blind spots are is one of the best way to properly fill in those areas before they become problematic.

“Be keenly aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and build your team to complement those things,” says Sian Morson, founder and CEO of Kollective Mobile.

Communication Is Key

After working for mega personalities and brands such as Magic Johnson and Starbucks, Nikkole Denson-Randolph, VP of Special & Alternative Content for AMC, learned the most critical aspects of successfully leading teams.

“Be approachable. The more welcoming you are, the more communication you will have so there’s much less confusion on your team and fewer unwelcome surprises. Don’t be hesitant to deal with individuals as soon as a problem presents itself. Address it right away, be clear about what the issue is and most of all be constructive. Address the issue, and provide context or an example of how it should have been prepared/handled/etc., and the end result should benefit the both of you. Set an example. There should be consistency between your actions and what you’re asking your team to do. Reward the right work ethic, and address actions that don’t support the company values/philosophy. Encourage developmental growth. Assign tough, but fair tasks, learn about their career goals and share as much relevant information as you can to support their growth.”

Put Your People Ahead of Yourself

She calls herself the Michael Bay of business and for good reason: Cindy Gallop, founder of IfWeRanTheWorld and Make Love, Not Porn, runs two game-changing startups and continues to blaze trails for women who want to launch and scale enterprises. “Hire the very best people you can find, give them an inspiring, compelling vision of what you want them to achieve for the business, free them up and empower them to achieve that vision any way they choose to using their own skills and talents, constantly demonstrate how much you value them (with words and deeds as well as compensation), and enable them to share in the profit they help to create. And always put your people ahead of yourself.”

As you can see, having the right mix of people is a common thread, but it’s also important to properly manage them. Beyond that, it’s important to stay focused on the goals you’ve set for your team. Remember that every interaction doesn’t have to be a battle. Sometimes being at odds with a team member means getting creative with how you approach influence and negotiation. Studying topics such as communication differences between men and women will also aid you as you adapt your style of leadership to various settings.

Lisa Nicole Bell is an award-winning producer and entrepreneur. She currently serves as the CEO of Inspired Life Media Group, a content development company that produces and distributes content for television and the web.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

This article was originally published on StartupCollective.

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