Recently, I read an article in Forbes by Travis Bradberry on this topic and I’d like to share my take on it.
Let’s face it – not everyone is cut out for leadership. Yet those who are make a habit of being mentally strong by either doing certain things or avoiding certain things (and people). All leaders face challenges and the most successful leaders know how to handle the challenge. Preparation is key.
Here are my top 5 habits of successful leaders –
- They Exhibit Confidence – Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Having a true attitude of confidence means being optimistic and knowing there is a solution to every condition and issue. These leaders are confident in themselves and have confidence in their team’s ability to make an impact, achieve results, and make their organization and marketplace a better place because of their work.
- They Avoid Toxic People – Toxic people are all around us in a variety of relationships including professional, friends, and even family. You know they type – they ooze negativity with every word they speak. Successful leaders know that allowing themselves to be influenced by toxic, negative people is not good for their well-being, so they avoid them. This doesn’t mean they never deal with difficult people when necessary; on the contrary, they strive to find common ground and solutions to move ahead.
- They Embrace Change – We all experience the world changing at a faster rate than ever before. Change is all around us, all the time. Successful leaders know this and readily accept change. They know that resisting change is futile so they take the initiative to recognize the change and trends as relates to their industry, and work to stay ahead of the curve whenever possible. This requires flexibility and a willingness to adapt plans, but not values or principles.
- They Say “No” Much More Than “Yes” – Successful leaders know what their top priorities or “big rocks” are and they focus on these, pushing all other inferior opportunities to the side. Peter Drucker said, “Leaders ensure the right things get done and managers ensure things are done right.” Those who say “no” have more focus, less stress, less burnout and depression. They don’t intend to please everyone or make everyone happy. They rarely add another priority until one is finished, thereby creating room.
- They Embrace Failure – People who have never failed have never tried anything new or different. All successful leaders, inventors, athletes, and any other category you can think of can point to one or more things they failed at before achieving greatness. Successful leaders know there is a lot to be learned from failure. Failures have a way of teaching us things we wouldn’t have known otherwise, and these new learnings will help to fuel the success we will achieve. Don’t misunderstand, leaders don’t actively try to fail; rather, they know that failure has to happen sometimes.
How would you rate yourself in each of the five habits above? Even if you have reflected on this before, I hope you do so now as well. If you haven’t grown in any of these areas, you may not be succeeding to your full potential. We all, myself included, have new things to learn, habits to work on, and challenges to embrace.
What is in it for you? Simply this: if you are not growing, you are regressing. Have you ever known a successful leader who has outstanding performance and scores at regressing? Of course not.
What are you going to do about this? It’s up to you and you can get some guidance to help you. If this resonates with you, let me know.