Becoming a great leader isn’t the only territory for a select few individuals. It can be developed by anybody, as long as they cultivate the right habits. Leadership habits develop over time and require conditioning your behavior to make it automatic. What habits do most leaders need to improve on?
Great leaders lead by example and walk the walk. Let’s take a look at some of the best behaviors for encouraging a strong work ethic, building relationships, and developing into a strong leader.
A good leader will admit they still have a lot to learn and have a strong focus on personal development. There are always a number of technical skills that great managers could use. If you show you are working on yourself, you will inspire others to do the same. You can only lead others, if you know how to manage your own life well, so focusing on personal development is key.
Showing up to work early and completing tasks in good time can create a healthy, productive environment. Being negative and taking out your emotions on your team members can create a toxic work environment and are signs of being a bad boss. Find ways to stay positive and enthusiastic, and this energy will transfer to your team. This requires constant self-discipline.
Practice What You Preach
Humans inevitably pick up cues from their environment, and act accordingly, whether this be conscious or unconscious. If a leader comes into work late and leaves early, other team members will generally follow suit. When they see how their leader handles conflict in the workspace, they will take note. A caring and competent leader will inspire loyalty. To help you engage your employees, lead by example.
People love to be acknowledged for their efforts. Good bosses look for the best qualities in team members, and take time to genuinely praise employees and give them positive feedback. This will make your workplace a happier place to be and will help to reinforce positive behaviours. If you praise someone for being a hard worker, they will strive to maintain this positive self-image.
Good communication and listening skills are a must if you want to be a great leader. Instead of listening to respond, start listening to understand. When you truly listen and understand all sides of a problem, it will be much easier to come to a well-rounded solution. You will be able to resolve conflict and establish positive relationships. This will also help to improve communication with your boss too.
To impact people around you in a positive way, it is essential that you stay positive. A leader sets the tone for everyone around them. The attitude you bring to work every day can be impactful and inspiring. Leaders need to adopt a winning mindset. Their team will then believe that anything can be achieved.
As a leader, you should always be reading content related to your area of expertise. It’s important to know what is happening in your industry. Reading can provide ideas. It can also inspire your team members to start reading. Former U.S. President, Barack Obama, made time to read books every day during his two terms in office.
Learn to Rest
Overworking leads to ineffectiveness. Without recharging your batteries, you cannot make good decisions without rest. Leaders must show their team that rest is important. Take a vacation. Don’t check emails 24 hours a day. If you are and your employees are well-rested, you will produce better work.
Setting goals and objectives is important to help maintain your long-term vision, and not get too stuck in the daily grind, it’s a good idea to write down your long-term goals every day. This will remind you of what you are working towards. It may help you to hit those goals faster and to stay motivated.
Find a Purpose Beyond Money
Money is obviously important in life. One of the best ways to become a great leader is to find a purpose for coming to work every day that is beyond money. Ask how you can be of service to the world. When you find a greater purpose, motivation will never be a problem
Stop Making Excuses
If you find yourself stuck in negative loops of thinking, saying to yourself “there are never enough hours in the day” or “this financial quarter is so important”, take some time to critically reflect. Every day is important, but it shouldn’t lead you to getting stressed or making excuses. Take responsibility and put in the work.
Don’t try be a hero. You don’t have to do everything yourself and you don’t need to have a hand in every decision. If you want to exhibit organizational leadership, surround yourself with talented people, ask others for help, delegate responsibilities to your team, and try to listen more than you talk.
A key factor in leadership is accepting responsibility, and not deflecting blame onto everyone else. If you come short on your goals, or a big deal falls through, don’t throw someone under the bus. Taking responsibility will help you to build trust in the long term. Don’t let setbacks destroy your long term vision. Learn from the situation and move forwards.
Let Others Evaluate You
As a leader, you are holding a lot of people accountable. But who holds you accountable? It can be a two-way street. Start by developing leadership skills in your employees, let your team members comment on what you are supposed to be doing. This shows that the company’s goals are more important than your ego.
Taking a daily walk is an easy habit to adopt. It will enhance your physical, mental and emotional energy. It will sharpen your self-regulation, creativity and confidence. A 20 minute daily walk can become your keystone habit. You could also practice short daily meditations to declutter your mind.
A good leader takes care of their physical and mental health. A key component to this can be counting your blessings every day. Having an attitude of gratitude can make you and your team members feel positive and fulfilled. It can also support the expansion of your personal and professional success.
Improve Your Leadership Habits
As a Manager leader, you want to adopt the “windshield mentality”. This simply means that you think about what is ahead of you, rather than what’s behind you. There’s no need to ruminate on past mistakes. Start planning how to develop and implement some of these positive leadership habits, and don’t look back.