5 Simple but Hard Habits Leaders Should Build

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.

5. Serve

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.

 

25 Replies to “5 Simple but Hard Habits Leaders Should Build”

  1. I have to say I have to agree you with all the items you’ve listed down. I think humble people who have conviction really make great leaders as they learn to set aside their pride without showing other people that they’re weak. A quote I love so much says the difference between a boss and a leader is that a boss says “Go!” while a leader says “Let’s go!” That’s a major difference. 🙂

    1. Thanks Rej! I love that quote too. And yes pride can be destructive and humility is the best practice, but admittedly its hard.

  2. Thank you for this! This will serve as a reminder to everyone. Great post!

    1. Yes, its even a reminder for me.:) Thanks Kiko!

  3. I don’t think those are hard habits for leaders. They’re the core habits leaders should have in the first place before becoming a leader.

    1. Patrick Mabilog says: Reply

      Good point. Leaders should have this, but its sad how in many corporate offices, we have so many Managers/Bosses, just as Rej mentioned, but no leaders.

  4. Awesome post! Would love to write articles like this soon. 🙂

    1. Patrick Mabilog says: Reply

      Ched, please do! I would love to read them. Please email me the link when you do so I can share it with my friends.

  5. I do agree with everything in the list! I’ve been reading financial and leadership books since last year. My taste for book suddenly changed, maybe it’s because I’m getting older/matured? haha. Anyway, I will practice those. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Patrick Mabilog says: Reply

      Hahaha. Or maybe leaders and finance experts are just getting younger! Thanks for taking the time to read!

  6. I agree with all the list especially the number 5. I remember when my husband shared a story about his boss. It was a few years ago when one of our family was diagnosed with cancer. Maybe it was too obvious that my husband were stressed, suddenly his boss came to him and gave him a back massage. He was surprised for what the boss did to him, but it helped him relax. A simple gesture makes really a difference.

    1. Patrick Mabilog says: Reply

      Amazing story Jess! I’d love to hear more about it. If you could blog about it please share to me the link.

  7. Admitting mistakes and valuing relationships are traits I admire most with leaders.
    Too few have them.

    1. Patrick Mabilog says: Reply

      Very true, but I’m hoping for the day that more people practice number 5.:) It can definitely start with us, Lux.

  8. Aside from learning from their mistakes, leaders should also learn from their followers.

    1. Patrick Mabilog says: Reply

      Very true! I would probably add that as number 6. I learn so much from people who work under me. Sometimes I consider them to be my boss.:))

  9. Daang Matuwad! XD
    Nice Article or Should I say, A nice reminder to all our leaders and the becoming one. Kuddos!

  10. I agree with a 5 points. I love number 1 and 5, I have always had a knack for the English language, and it was my favorite subject since elementary other than recess haha!

    1. Patrick Mabilog says: Reply

      Nice one Anne! Thanks. Hope this article was helpful.

  11. Big check! If leaders usually have those then there would be less numbers of employees quitting their job! It’s about the management! #hugot haha

    1. Patrick Mabilog says: Reply

      Nice one Pearl. haha. But true enough, we need more leaders. Hence share this with every leader you know. It’s time to change.:)

  12. Taking up the leader position is always a big responsibility no matter how small the organisation. But in the end of the day, it’s full filling to see your colleagues having those smiles on their faces 🙂

    1. Patrick Mabilog says: Reply

      Very true Mary! I only lead a team of 4, but together we oversee hundreds of other leaders. It’s a privilege working with a few to impact the many.:)

  13. 3. Value relationship over rules

    This point is really a great barrier to leadership or any organization specially when overdone!

    1. Patrick Mabilog says: Reply

      I agree. While systems are important, they are only there to reinforce and lift up relationships.

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