Habit is a stronger word than we often think. Even the smallest habits account for the biggest results, whether it be success or failure. Of course, since everyone wants to be successful (I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who wants to be a failure), we must all shoot to have good and healthy habits, especially to become successful leaders.
Stephen Covey once said:
“Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconcious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.”
I’m sure there are many habits we must build to be better leaders, but I’d like to share with you five habits that I practice that has helped me become a better leader at home, in the workplace and in the community. And these are five simple, hard, but worth-the-effort habits leaders should build
1. Practice your English
One habit leaders should build is their English communications. When I was young, my dad really pushed me to develop this habit. It might sound very superficial, but you’ll be surprised how many opportunities to lead I have gotten simply because of the habit I was taught of speaking in English.
English is more than just a language, it’s a means of wider communication. Not saying that those who speak the vernacular can’t be leaders, but when leading a group with different dialects (which is pretty often the case now), it’s always best to find a way to communicate clearer with a universal tongue
2. Lead by example
This is one the most overused statements, but also one that is under utilized habits leaders build. When was the last time you came in extra early to encourage your staff or your team to come in early too? English is a wide means of communication, but actions are even wider. You can communicate as well as you’d like, but if actions don’t reflect your conviction, chances are that nothing will happen.
I really appreciate my Senior Pastor, Raffy Gonzaga, in the way he leads by example through his time management. I can’t remember the last time Pastor Raffy was late for a meeting. Not once. And he never makes excuses. When was the last time you practiced something instead of asking your team to follow?
3. Value relationship over rules
So you want to reach that quota, but it just hasn’t been happening. Maybe people are trying to respond to the quota instead of you. What does that mean? Carole Gillespie teaches that people don’t listen to rules. They instead listen to people. When we focus too much on the rules, people start losing trust over people because to them the rule is just a number.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying ‘Don’t have rules’. What I’m saying is that set up rules, but remind them that there is a person behind those rules that they can trust
4. Admit your mistakes
Leadership is not about being perfect. So there’s no need to pressure yourself to build a perfect image. Followers should not be compelled by a leaders credentials, but by the humility to respect the cause, even if it means admitting that you might be the reason the cause isn’t being met.
Whether it’s a simple cup of coffee, or taking your team out to a group lunch, or just making sure that you are double-checking if they need anything from you, service goes a long way. The concept of servant leadership is popular, but it’s also unpopular in the sense that many leaders refuse to take the time to practice it because “my staff might think I’m just butt-kissing” or “they’ll just get spoiled and will stop listen”.
Leadership takes a lot of hard work, but it’s hard work that will always pay off. Outstanding leadership is more than just barking around, throwing authority at people and getting things done. It is building habits that uplift people and teach them how to get things done.