Leadership Habits to Make You a Better Influence on Those Around You
“What are your top five leadership habits?”
As the CEO of a training company, I am asked this question often. There are so many responses that I could give but, surprisingly, narrowing it to these five was actually pretty easy. Each of these is applicable in a variety of situations—from leading an entire company to managing a small team. These have helped me stay grounded, focused, and inspired—all of which make me a better leader.
Know who you are.
Explore your personal story. What makes you tick? What motivates you to get up in the morning? Understanding yourself is the first step to being confident in yourself. And that confidence will naturally make people want to follow and trust you.
Know who other people think you are.
Interestingly, the “you that you know” and the “you that others know” can be quite different. Enlist others’ help in figuring out how the rest of the world perceives you. Ask for feedback, and really listen to it. And, whatever you do, don’t get bogged down trying to figure out who made that hurtful comment on your 360. Or if you do…thank them for it!
After my near-fatal cycling accident, my hospital made me wear a wristband that said “Fall Risk” to indicate to doctors that I was likely to fall when standing on my own. For weeks I looked at the words “Fall Risk” on my wrist, but over time I took them to mean the opposite: risk falling. If I hadn’t pushed myself to get out of the wheelchair, off the crutches, and back on the bike, I’d still be recovering. The same concept applies to business. Risk falling, and allow others to risk falling, too. You learn more from getting up than you ever would have from staying in your comfort zone.
Never stop learning.
Don’t allow yourself to become stagnant. When you become a leader it can be tempting to let others help with research and short cut your path to knowledge with good briefing papers. And you can certainly embrace this–but make sure to keep exercising your brain. By continuing your own learning journey you will become a more knowledgeable leader and, most importantly, you will become a better influence. If the leader is a learner, those who follow will be, too.
Share the credit. Take the blame.
A leader, by definition, means you lead a team. And this means that it takes more than just you to get things done. So, whenever you hit a goal, reach a milestone, or win a new client, don’t seek out praise. Instead, give credit to your team. And by the same token, when things go wrong, don’t go looking for someone to blame. Individual accountability is important, but it starts with you, the leader. If you take responsibility, your people will, too.
What do you think? Do you practice any of these leadership habits? What others would would you add to the list? Comment below, or tweet us at @ArielGroup to share your thoughts.