Effective leaders focus on habits that accelerate progress.
Here are my Top Eight:
#1: Focus: Didn’t make as much progress as you hoped? Were you distracted all week? Did you lose sight of the high-impact work that enables growth? Why? Growth requires focus. Effective leaders make focus their #1 habit and then teach their team how to master this skill as well. Developing the focus habit requires effort, but once mastered, you and your team will be able to get more done in less time.
#2: Rhythm and Routine: Powerful leaders establish rituals and behaviors to recharge their energy. Energy provides the capacity to accomplish more in less time. During the day, they look for ways to group similar tasks together to create rhythm. Ineffective leaders waste way too much time switching between tasks. The more you multitask, the harder it becomes to stay focused on and accomplish any single task.
#3: Coach and Mentor: The best leaders are effective teachers. Effective leaders inspire their team. They help others challenge assumptions and discern facts from opinions. They provide encouragement and support. They extract lessons from various experiences. They provide constructive insight and feedback. They guide new learning and they build confidence. Trust that you will reap the rewards for the effort you invest.
#4: Effective Meetings: The quality of most meetings can and should to be improved. If more leaders formed the habit of preparing for meetings better, having a tighter agenda, and monitoring the follow-up actions, more progress would be made. We’ve all been in many meetings that were a waste of time. Often the meeting lasted too long, people were allowed to go off topic, and there was little to no follow-up. The fastest way to accelerate business growth is to make it a renewed habit to have effective meetings.
#5: Listen Actively: There is always a gap between what a leader wants to have happen and the capability of their team to execute. When leaders learn to ask the right questions and actively listen to the answers, they become more aware of the gaps and how to address them. Effective leaders engage their team in the process, and an engaged team delivers better results.
#6: Experiment: Everyone makes mistakes. Conscious leaders learn from them. Making a mistake is not the problem, it’s what you do afterward that really counts. People learn from taking action, from the mistakes they make, and from the feedback they receive. Good leaders allow their team the freedom to experiment.
#7: Challenge Yourself: The truth is that change is uncomfortable. Growth is uncomfortable. So what do we do? We fight it. Effective leaders instead lean into the challenge. They remind themselves that any uncomfortable feeling they or their team experience is a good thing. They stay open to the realm of infinite possibilities and honor the transition—they know that they are being asked to consciously grow.
#8: Self-care: Most business leaders don’t make self-care a priority. Quiet time is essential! It’s the only path to clear thinking. Exercise creates energy and enables you to deal with stress better. Rest is an investment in yourself. How often do you lack the motivation to tackle a difficult task? How often are you effective in the morning but dramatically underperform in the afternoon? Self-care is not selfish. As a leader, you must take care of yourself. Recharging your mind, body, and emotions allows you to be at your best so you can be of service to others.
Here’s the cool part: When you develop habit #8 (self-care), habits #1-7 become a heck of lot easier!
Have you and your team mastered the habits that accelerate progress? Need help? Contact me.