The right habits can make your life easier, while the wrong habits can hinder progress toward your goals. In essence, habits directly impact the quality of life.
When you’re in a leadership position, your habits become even more impactful thanks to the effect they can have on your team. Because of this potential impact, leaders should examine their habits regularly and look for ways to improve them.
Here, we’ll explore some of the top habits of great leaders and how you can incorporate them into your daily life.
9 Habits of Effective Leaders
Throughout history, some of the greatest leaders have demonstrated common traits. Here are nine impactful habits commonly shared among history’s most remarkable leaders:
Organizations constantly seek out leaders who can make fast and effective decisions because their choices can significantly impact their entire team or company. These leaders typically follow a structured decision-making process to get the best possible outcomes from their choices. They also recognize the importance of limiting the number of decisions they need to make to avoid decision fatigue.
However, impactful leaders don’t just focus on being decisive; they’re also aware of their cognitive biases and take steps to mitigate those biases when making decisions.
2. Excellent Communication
While the concept of communication may seem straightforward, mastering exceptional communication skills often requires years of study and practice. Great leaders are often skilled in these three essential communication areas:
- Public speaking: While speaking in front of a group can be daunting, it can inspire admiration and respect from a team. The ability to unite individuals behind a clear message is a powerful leadership skill.
- Writing skills: Writing is a vital skill leaders need to convey messages with clarity, brevity, and influence. Skilled writers can reach a wide audience through various channels such as books, articles, or social media.
- Listening: Understanding the needs of the team is essential for every leader, and careful listening is critical to achieving this. Deep focus and the ability to discern the meaning behind someone’s words are vital components of effective listening.
3. Goal Oriented
Goals are the driving force behind business success. Effective leaders are highly goal-driven in both their personal and professional lives.
They also possess a strong understanding of the need for cascading goals throughout their organization and prioritize those goals effectively.
4. Effective Time Management
Setting and prioritizing goals is significantly less effective if you lack the time-management skills to complete them. Leaders understand that time is their most valuable resource and implement systems in their life and business to maximize it.
Effective time management can involve sticking to a schedule, tracking your time, focusing on top priorities, and delegating low-level tasks.
5. Read Personal Development Books
While the average American reads only one book per year, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read an average of four to five books per month. It’s evident leaders are readers.
They make a habit of reading regularly, favoring educational books over novels. By reading, they can gain insights from other brilliant leaders, sharpen their decision-making abilities, and stimulate their own minds.
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6. Display Confidence, Not Ego
Successful leaders focus on the greater good, rather than getting caught up in their own ego. By confidently setting aside their ego, leaders can empower their people to acknowledge their mistakes, explore innovative solutions to problems, and listen to different perspectives with an open mind.
7. Practice Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is a skill all leaders can and should develop thoroughly. Effective critical thinking involves recognizing blind spots in your reasoning and considering multiple perspectives from reputable sources, such as a mentor or coach, before arriving at a conclusion.
Leaders must be able to solve problems and make decisions with objectivity and without egocentric thinking to ensure the best possible outcomes for their team.
8. Hold Themselves and Their Team Accountable
When team members share a common mission, they must all hold themselves accountable to fulfilling it so they can stay on course and optimize their individual performances. Leaders practice accountability and drive others to hold themselves accountable, too.
Here are the three types of accountability leaders focus on:
- Self-accountability: Leaders are creative in the ways they hold themselves accountable, such as using daily scorecards, journaling, or habit-tracking technology.
- Peer accountability: Leaders foster shared responsibility and trust by engaging in open communication, seeking feedback, and participating in peer review sessions or mentoring.
- Subordinate accountability: Establishing a system for holding team members accountable is a crucial aspect of leadership. It’s important for leaders to clearly define the expectations, consequences, and incentives for meeting or exceeding expectations.
- Upwards accountability: Leaders maintain transparency with superiors by providing regular updates on progress and challenges, taking ownership of decisions, and actively seeking guidance when needed.
9. Prioritize Health and Well-Being
Without optimal physical and mental health, you can’t operate at your best. Leaders understand this and prioritize their health and well-being without making excuses.
Habits such as getting sufficient sleep, engaging in regular exercise, meditating, working with a health coach, and eating a balanced diet are all crucial for optimal performance.
The Bottom Line
The habits you adopt as a leader can directly impact your team’s productivity and success. By incorporating these habits into your personal and professional life, you can become a more impactful and well-rounded leader.
If you need support in developing your leadership skills or improving your habits to become a better leader, take our quick assessment to determine your strengths and areas for growth.