Highly successful leaders understand that success in any form is not an event, it’s a process. The most successful leaders understand that success is something that is cultivated over time. Success is a daily grind, a daily commitment that functions around your life purpose. Each day you make choices that effect if you will one day be able to reach your ultimate goal.
When striving for greatness as a leader, we want to be effective and efficient. How do we get to where we want to go if we don't have clear goals in mind? We cannot lead others unless we understand our goals inside and out.
How can you get started on developing more effective leadership habits? Use these tips as a guide, and you'll be running your team more efficiently than ever before.
If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. How can you succeed if you lack clarity on what it is you’re setting out to achieve on any given day?
Great leaders know this, and they also understand the need for urgency, but they never jeopardize the chance of success by ignoring the planning. Great leaders find a way to slow things down, to take a step back and ensure that their teams are focused on the right things, and understand what needs to be done to be successful before rushing in. Planning your next day the night before, sets you up to start your day in an organized flow, allowing you to get more done in less time.
Exceptional leaders tend to be over-achievers and are often overly critical of themselves when they make mistakes. To avoid getting stuck in this trap, successful leaders make sure to have superiors or other people they look up to and admire to consult with when necessary.
When you have someone to talk to about your dreams and goals, it helps to relieve the panic you experience when under the stress of challenging circumstances. Getting advice from the person you admire helps to return you to a state of composure, so you can more successfully lead your team and take necessary action against obstacles you’re facing. Seasoned leaders understand and deeply respect the concept that all leaders need leaders.
Hold yourself accountable.
A good leader does not only hold the people they work with accountable, they hold themselves accountable too. No one is perfect, and things will inevitably go wrong at some point. An effective leader will stand up and apologize for their mistakes and find a way to correct them.
They hold themselves to higher standards than they hold their teams, because they want to look like role models for their subordinates. This encourages their teams to take ownership, which has a positive impact on results and outcomes. Your team will have more respect for you as a leader, because they know you will admit our mistakes rather than blame them.
Take care of yourself.
Have you ever heard of someone boasting about how they only got three hours of sleep last night because they were up so hard working? At first, this might make you feel that you aren't working hard enough and need to sacrifice more in order to be successful. In reality, though, this habit is incredibly negative for your overall health and will only hinder your ability to be a good leader in the long run.
We cannot be a good leader if we are missing out on sleep and exercise, or eating and drinking poorly. When we do, we start feeling on edge, listless, and foggy. We get stressed out more easily and lash out on the people around us. Make sure to set aside time each day to check in with yourself, taking care of any personal needs you need.
When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Leadership is about helping to keep your teams focused on the goals, keeping their eyes on the prize and minimizing distractions. To do this, leaders need to be laser focused because if they become distracted, then the organization becomes distracted.
This means staying engaged in all conversations that you have, each task you complete, and the like. You should be present in each moment 100 percent or else you may miss out on something important. Stop over-thinking your future to-do list or a past failure - and instead stay engaged in the present.
Build your team.
Leadership is not about being the best person in the team. Rather, it’s about assembling the best team and delivering the best results. Great leaders know this, and they have the confidence to hire people who are more knowledgeable and skillful than they are. These leaders don't feel the need to be the best at everything, but they instead find people that are good at the things they are not.
Leadership is about getting the best out of all of the available resources. Leaders need to be great at relationship building and working well with others. They leverage their networks, and they also know that this is a two-way street providing support to their network when needed to ensure that it will be there in their time of need.
Exceptional leaders live and thrive in the arena of challenge. The more you challenge yourself to succeed, the greater your confidence becomes in your ability to do it again. Challenge doesn’t just help to grow your skills and knowledge, it helps to grow the belief you have in yourself that you can achieve the aims you set out to accomplish.
When we face problems as a leader, we shouldn't break down and give up. Get out of the mindset of "because of this problem, I won't be successful". Instead, be solution-focused and see each problem as a challenge to overcome, not an excuse to not reach your goal.
Fear holds us back from taking the next step. We choose to stay comfortable with the status quo, even if we find it boring and predictable. We don't want to take the risk we need to in order to get ahead, because we are afraid of failure or the unknown. We justify it to ourselves that staying stagnant is the path we want to be on.
Brilliant leaders decide to take those smart risks. They know that growth can't happen when they stay in the safe zone, so they take action. They might still doubt themselves and ask question like "what if it doesn't work out?" However they also choose to ask themselves, "what if it does?"
Micro-management is a sign of a weak leader. It shows that the leader doesn't trust their team, which can cause riffs in communication and hinder the teams overall performance. Being micro-managed can be incredibly frustrating, leaving your team wanting to do less work for you, not continue to work hard. It's hard to be dedicated when you feel like you are getting yelled at all the time for poor performance.
A good leader will give their teams clear direction, have strict expectations, and then back away to give their team the room they need to be successful. It's alright to ask for updates and follow up with their work, however doing so constantly will only credibility as a leader. You added these people to your team for a reason, so trust that they can get the work done correctly.