7 Habits of Leaders to Excel in the Management Profession
Are great leaders born or made? My experience is they are made, and there are certain habits of leaders they all seem to have in common.
I like to observe people, especially leaders and managers, in my organization. The reason is very straightforward. I want to be recognized as a leader in the future, so I want to learn from the best.
All of this brings me back that leaders are made not born. Their success is not a sudden event, it is a long process. Often lasting many years to reap significant results but certainly a process which never ends. Also, it is not an easy one because daily commitment is required.
If you are aspiring to be a leader just like me, you might find my observations on habits of leaders below interesting.
Recently I discussed considerations when choosing a leadership style. What I have recognised from my observations and discussions of leaders is that their styles are often different, but their habits are very similar. With this I mean good habits which allow them to learn, develop and excel.
Effective Habits of Leaders to Excel in the Management Profession
1. Being Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
In management, you often must step into the unknown. You never know what challenges the workday will bring.
This is often uncomfortable. Great leaders, nonetheless, won't shy away from this. Firstly, those awkward situations and work are unavoidable to get things done. Secondly, these are good opportunities to learn and stretch your current comfort zone.
2. Continuous Improvement - Relentless Learning
Learning ends in school and university, right? If you aim for a great career, the learning will only begin.
When I ask leaders if they know it all about leadership and management long into their careers, I get back always this response: "The more I learn, the more I know that I don't know."
Even great leaders don't know it all. In difference to many, they are very aware of this fact. They adopt a continuous improvement mindset to learn further skills and knowledge they need to succeed and stay relevant.
Consistency is essential for success in the management world. Consistent leaders show up on time, stick to their word, deliver predictable quality, and have a clear decision process. That creates loyalties, alignment, and trust with their employees, fellow managers, and their leadership.
4. Self-Reflection - One of the Most Essential Habits of Leaders
Do you sometimes sit down and reflect on the day? Why was is especially good, or why wasn't great? And what was your part in it?
Why is this important? Because without awareness and knowledge about yourself, you cannot do it better the next time.
This is one of the most important habits of leaders. They sit down and reflect on themselves and their actions, especially when things went wrong. Some even block time regularly in their diaries dedicated to self-reflection.
5. Hire Great People
This is a big one. And in my experience one of the most difficult ones to do and a long process.
Great leaders have to achieve their vision and goals through their team. To do so, they need capable and motivated people. Finding these is hard and great leaders rather wait than hire mediocre people.
6. Laser Focus - Prioritisation
Have you found yourself in this situation before? You come to the office and suddenly there are requests from all sides, all are urgent and important. But are they really?
Most people get drawn into the daily chaos and lose sight of the most beneficial tasks for their work and their career.
One habit of leaders is to assess every task first about the bigger picture for their goals. If it doesn't serve the goals and it doesn't start a major issue, a task won't make it to the top of their to-do list, even if it was most urgent.
7. Impactful Relationships
If you want to go far, go together.
Such a true saying. If you want to further your career and get things done, you need to have good working relationships with other teams and different levels of the company.
Often this is hard because other teams will have different priorities than yours and sometimes personalities clash badly. However, great leaders will put in extra effort to create mutually beneficial and symbiotic relationships to make their efforts effective, efficient, and impactful.
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