7 Habits of Highly Successful Leaders
Every single one of the 1,000+ leaders I have coached has built their career by making themselves expert in most of the habits on this list. 5 minute read.
Simply by practicing these seven states of being until they become your default habits you will quickly become a leader whom others want to follow.
No.1 Take charge of your mind
Your brain is the control center of your being. All your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors flow from your brain. You need to be in charge. The secret is to monitor your thoughts by checking in with your mind constantly throughout the day.
In my experience, most people don’t pay sufficient attention to what they are thinking about. They just allow their brain to get on with whatever they have chosen to focus on or whatever it wants to do. But that’s not good enough. A leader who aspires to excellence needs to be the master of their most powerful asset.
Make it your habit to check in and notice what you are thinking at regular intervals. And, if you don’t like your train of thought send it up a different track.
No. 2 Direction
You have to know exactly where you’re going at all times. Be clear about all of your goals. Check regularly to make sure that your goals are still relevant and that your actions are constantly moving you toward your goals.
It is best to have a vision of your goal that is created by the entire team and that inspires both you and your team. See: How to Coach A Manager to Produce an Inspiring Team Vision. It helps your team when you make a habit of answering their questions within the framework of your team vision.
No.3 Know why
When you and your team know why you are doing what you’re doing it fosters a belief in the value of your actions. Knowing why the achievement of your team vision is important to the business as a whole gives a team the feeling that what they are doing has a purpose.
Conversely not knowing why what you’re doing adds value can create a feeling that you are perhaps wasting your time. So, it can be said that not knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing is actually demotivating.
No.4 No fear
Fear, worry, and stress all tighten people up. And when people feel tight they are easily distracted and find it hard to give their best.
The challenge here is that people have been educated both at home and at school to not make mistakes. They have been taught that making mistakes is wrong and often leads to punishment. But you cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs. Mistakes will happen. Good leaders treat mistakes as learning opportunities.
When someone makes a mistake the leader should consider gathering the team together to help the person who made the mistake find a solution. In this way, members of your team will learn that they will be helped and supported when they make mistakes, rather than punished.
Fostering the knowledge that, “if you make a mistake your team will support and help you,” creates an environment in which people feel more relaxed and more ready to try new ideas. This is likely to be a more vibrant and creative environment.
No.5 Leaders are learners
We live in exciting times. New inventions and ways of being are being discovered every day. Leaders need to at least be abreast of the latest tools and techniques that can enhance team performance. The only way to keep up is by constantly learning.
The media provide much of the information needed to stay up to date, but leaders need more in-depth knowledge. You need to know how to develop and foster fear-free team environments. You need to understand the new developments in creating mindsets. You need to be excited by the potential of new technology and new understanding of the human mind.
Learning opens doors for your development as a leader. By devoting yourself to continuous and never-ending learning and implementing what you learn you will grow as a leader and you will lead teams that achieve excellent results.
No.6 Be a star communicator
Whether you are conscious of it or not you are communicating every second of every day. Your thoughts turn into feelings that drive your behavior. And everyone you meet reads your body language to decide how to greet or respond to you.
Once again the importance of mind control is highlighted because all your communications are born in your brain. Star communicators make themselves conscious of their thoughts before they communicate. They want to be in control of the whole communication process before they utter a word.
Good communication is being clear about the message you want your audience to receive, it’s about sending that message clearly, and also about the feelings that you want your audience to experience when they receive your message.
Your smile is one of your most powerful means of communication. Simply by smiling you welcome people, you encourage them to speak, defuse tension, and create a more relaxed atmosphere.
Smiling also makes you appear to be more trustworthy and truthful
No.7 Stay calm in a crisis
It is the nature of work that things do not always go according to plan. “Shit happens” as they say, and it often happens with alarming frequency. At such times good leaders stay calm, focus on their vision, and get closer to their team in order to encourage and ensure that confidence levels do not slide.
The important understanding of crises is that emotions are contagious. if a leader broadcasts their own fears and concerns the team will pick up on the emotions and become anxious themselves. Good leaders do not allow their concerns to dominate their thinking in times of crisis, they remain calm and use energetic body language to help their team to relax and give their best to solve the issue in the shortest possible time.
I will be expanding on each of these 7 habits of highly effective leaders over the coming weeks. In the meantime here is a quick reprise of the 7 habits:
Take charge of your mind by constantly checking what you are thinking.
Be clear about your direction by creating a positive vision.
Know why you are doing what you’re doing to foster belief.
Create a work environment in which the team supports anyone who makes a mistake.
Learn and go on learning and practicing what you learn.
Be a star communicator.
Always remain calm in a crisis.
Note: leadership is not one habit, it’s a combination of skills and abilities each of which plays its part according to the situation that arises. The more you know the better you will be equipped to deal with the situation.