You might think getting up extra early is the way forward to succeed as a leader. You might even already be well into the habit of doing so and emulating people such as Apple CEO, Tim Cook, in this regard. 

A few extra hours in your workday can be a great opportunity to get ahead, but it takes more than an early start to drive organisational success. Successful leaders must observe a whole series of good habits. 

In this post, we outline ten habits of great leaders and illustrate the habits you can develop to emulate their success. You may even become aware of them through some leadership training that provides insight into how to be a good leader and bring your best self to work as a person and as a manager.

Ten success habits of great leaders

There are many inspirational leaders out there, including Sir Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, and Sara Blakely. Note that ‘inspirational’ is not a term we use frequently. Are you a leader wishing to be referred to in these same positive terms? Are you operating in a non-managerial role but harbouring a desire to lead the pack? Then it’s time to form the habits below, if you haven’t already done so. 

1. Set your intention for the day

Before you get down to any sort of managerial business, set your intention for the day. You’re going to encounter a host of distractions and don’t want to spend your whole day reacting to external forces. Establishing your intention(s) can activate the mindset required for a successful day. The day doesn’t lead you. You lead the day.

Stating your intention for the day is about taking control of how you want to feel so it can go the way you wish it to go. More than a goal, it’s a mindset. You might decide you want to be healthy or productive, and then you take actions that follow up on these intentions. That could mean exercising for an hour each day and drinking more water, or switching off your phone and closing your email inbox for an hour, so that you can achieve the desired state.

2. Focus on solutions

The only thing blaming others will do is expend valuable time on something of no value. Great leaders know this and, in times of operational turmoil, will seek solutions to the challenges they encounter (because they interpret ‘problems’ as ‘challenges’). Asking ‘how’ questions is a superb way to do this and directs your attention towards finding solutions to a challenge. If an issue emerges, address it and then return to the root of the problem later to review what went wrong and ensure the same setback doesn’t arise again.

3. Plan

Planning is paramount. We’ve all heard the old adage ‘Fail to plan, and you plan to fail.’ Leaders understand this and although there are times when they have to think on their feet or a situation carries a certain level of urgency, they don’t neglect planning. To be a successful leader, take a step back and understand the requirements for you and your team to make everything go smoothly.

4. Hold yourself accountable

Accountability in leadership is incredibly important. Regardless of what the reason is for something going wrong, the leader is the person who accepts the responsibility for this. Leaders know this, and they make no excuses. They hold themselves to a higher standard, taking ownership of their mistakes and failures. They analyse the reasons something didn’t go well and seek to rectify the issue. Others look up to them as role models and, as a result, a leader that displays their own accountability for them to witness can influence performance and results in a positive way.

5. Avoid micromanaging

This is a tough one, but you have to believe in your team. Micromanaging them will undermine their confidence and can hinder results, not to mention cause people to form a negative opinion of you as a manager. Micromanagement can be a sign of under-developed leadership skills. Provide clear direction, make your expectations equally clear, and then let your team forge ahead with their tasks and shine. It’s fine to ask for updates from time to time, but not hourly or daily.

6. Hire the best people

Leading an organisation to prosperity isn’t all about how brilliant you are, and you shouldn’t crave recognition or feel the need to be the best. Your desire should be to form the best team possible to achieve maximum results for your organisation. That means hiring people with greater expertise than you in certain areas and stepping back so they can serve your organisation to the very best of their abilities.

7. Embrace continuous learning

We wouldn’t be a leadership training company or provide coaching ourselves if we didn’t believe in the development of this habit as a catalyst for success. Leaders learn continuously, and it can occur as easily outside of a classroom as inside of it. Every experience or interaction is an avenue for learning, and cultivating a mindset of intentional learning creates space for openness and curiosity. Basically, every day is a school day when you’re a leader!

8. Be consistent

Inconsistency destabilises progress and causes delays, so leaders must strive for consistency as much as realistically possible. If something is deemed ‘good’ one day, but ‘poor’ the next, it can harm the confidence of the team. They may lose faith in the quality of their work or take longer than necessary while they seek to perform the task flawlessly.

9. Take calculated risks

Fortune favours the brave. Leaders know that and aren’t scared to take a gamble. Good leaders, however, also understand the difference between taking smart, calculated risks and pure recklessness. A leader who can encourage smart risk-taking will foster the growth of the organisation. Not only that, but this kind of risk-taking will also build confidence, an important trait in leaders.

10. Connect with yourself

We know this might sound a little spiritual or philosophical, but taking time to connect with yourself is essential. Leaders must be decisive, determined, and focused, which can come at the expense of suppressing their emotions and any feelings of doubt. Take some time to connect with yourself and be human. You’re leading other humans and shouldn’t be showing up to your office behaving like a robot.

Build effective leadership habits with our leadership training courses

As we mentioned above, leaders embrace learning, which is why we invite you to find out more about our leadership training courses and register for one to enhance your own leadership skills and performance. You’ll gain insight into different aspects of leadership and management, allowing you to cultivate the indispensable skills, attributes, and habits for success as a leader.

To book one of our training courses, just visit our courses page, click on the relevant course from our outstanding selection, and click on ‘book your place’ to begin the process. Alternatively, you can send us an email to enquiries@inpd.co.uk, message us by filling in the form on our contact page or call us on 0161 826 3139. You’re welcome to contact us with any questions you have about any of our training courses. We look forward to assisting you on your leadership journey.


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