You are what you repeatedly do! Your habits, therefore, determine your character. In our previous blog post, we talked about how to build habits for career success! If you did not read our previous blog post, you may read it here. Now that you know how to build habits, let's talk about which habits to build if you seek to be an effective leader! If you have been part of any team then you will know that some leaders are effective, and others simply aren’t. Effective leaders provide guidance, inspiration, and direction to produce better outcomes for their teams. Are you an effective leader?
If you do not consider yourself an effective leader, do not feel discouraged. Leadership is a skill, and it can be honed! Your habits play an important role when it comes to honing your leadership skills! Below, are 5 habits that you build, that will help you become a more effective leader!
“Effective leadership is the only competitive advantage that will endure. That's because leadership has two sides - what a person is (character) and what a person does (competence)”
1. The Habit of Excellence!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
This quote by Aristotle is a great reminder, that excellence is a habit! It is important to cultivate this habit because as an effective leader, you provide guidance and direction. Therefore, if you do not have the habit of excellence, how will you inspire your team to be excellent? When excellence is a habit, it manifests itself in everything that you do. We can get fooled into thinking that excellence comes with shiny awards and extravagant accolades, but excellence is essentially who you are.
2. Pitch Up, Be Organized, and Engage!
Life is full of distractions; this is especially true if you are a leader. Imagine a situation in which you are attending a conference where the top scientists or business leaders are gathered, and you are set to learn a lot and be inspired by them! During this conference, you receive a call that requires your attention, in which there is an emergency at the office. Now instead of attending the conference, you are spending your time advising on how best to engage with this unhappy client. This is not to say that the client is not important, however, you have now missed a golden opportunity for learning and growing your network. It is important as a leader, to always pitch up and be present so that you may take advantage of each opportunity. Always be organized and engaged wherever you are. In this situation, it would be helpful to train your team in a manner that will allow them to operate without you, this allows you to be present, prepared, and engaged, without having to worry about.
3. The Habit of Action!
Here is a question for you; 3 frogs are sitting on a log, 2 decide to jump into the water, how many are left?
Did you answer 1? Well, that is one way of looking at it. The other way of looking at it is that there are 3 frogs left, the other 2 just took a decision and acted on it! There is a difference between deciding and doing. As a leader you will spend a lot of time deciding on things, however, decisions have absolutely no impact in the real world, you have to act on your decisions! Fear can prevent us from taking action, however, effective leaders know that growth cannot happen when one stays in their comfort zone.
4. The Habit of Persistence
“The habit of persistence is the habit of victory"
Persistence is perhaps one of the most admirable qualities a leader can have. A lot of people have the capacity to have a vision and set goals towards their vision, however, only a few get to accomplish their vision because they lack persistence. If, as a leader, you do not have the habit of persistence, your team loses its significance. A leader that does not have this habit, is not likely to achieve success.
5. The Habit of Listening!
Listening is a core communication skill and it is fundamental for effective leadership! As a leader, you can only improve if you are open to feedback, this requires you to have adopted the habit of listening. It is important that you improve your listening skills so you may become fully immersed in what your team members have to say, this fosters an environment of psychological safety and this is the differentiating factor in high-performance teams. Failure to adopt the habit of listening leads to mistrust, and misaligned strategies.
Now that you know the 5 habits for successful leaders, you may use our guide on cultivating good habits, to cultivate these habits in your own life. This will take you a step closer to becoming the effective leader that you want to be!
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