Power Up! 10 Things Great Leaders Do Every Day
Successful leaders practice steady habits. Learn 10 things you can do right now to become a high impact leader.
Some people really make it look easy. Sitting at the head of the conference room table they take full command and control. They are relentlessly focused on the goal and rally the team into action. Day after day these leaders are functioning at their peak performance. What’s their secret?
It’s never too late to borrow the good habits from top leaders and make them your own. Here are ten things you should consider incorporating into your daily routine.
View leadership as a service: This can feel like a diametrically opposed leadership model. Command and control and service based leadership require very different perspectives and skills. The best leaders realize command and control is what got them where they are today, and service based leadership is what will keep them there.
Know the whole business: Markets move quickly and staying on top of changes within your company and the industry can be a challenge. Take off the blinders and get rid of the silo’d mentality. Those who excel know the entire business and all the up-and down-stream inter-dependencies. They also know where the company fits within the industry and how to maximize its competitive or comparative advantages.
Develop and nurture deep and trusting relationships: The best leaders never go it alone. In order to move quickly and with confidence they need to be surrounded by people who have mutual respect and trust. Great leaders put in the time to build these relationships and share experiences that gain lasting trust.
Avoid burnout: Burnout is typically discussed in the context of our employees but executives can burn out too. With constant demands on their time and energy, the best leaders are able to avoid burnout by finding purpose from the impact they have on the company and society. They guard their time and build strong connections to get the most out of the time they invest. Strong leaders focus on the big picture so they don’t get blind-sided by unexpected issues.
Make decisions: It sounds so easy, right? How many times a day do you sit in a meeting and think “Didn’t we talk about this last week?”, or “I thought we already agreed on a path forward”? Great leaders make and communicate actionable decisions that are clear to all stakeholders involved. They stay engaged to make sure everyone stays on track and modifies their decisions as new data and experiences become available.
Take risks and accept accountability: A good leader is accountable for their actions; a great leader takes accountability for their entire team. The best leaders are able to set a direction that has a risk level that is consistent with their function, and assume accountability for absolutely everything that happens. They take all the blame and share all the credit.
Demonstrate confidence and curiosity: As leaders progress in their careers they get further away from the details and people are less inclined to be completely honest with them. Strong leaders have the confidence to admit they don’t know it all and have a level of intellectual curiosity that just won’t quit. They leverage the data and strive for context by asking great probing questions and openly brainstorming.
Be consistent and reliable: Sometimes you manage your day and at other times your day manages you. The best leaders deal with these fluctuations and issues with a consistent leadership tone and they always keep their commitments. When teams know what to expect and trust you to do what you say, it goes a long way in getting ahead of problems and issues before they become too difficult to manage.
Build physical stamina: It doesn’t take a lot of physical fitness to sit in a conference room, talk to investors or type on a keyboard all day but having good physical health is a game changer. I’m not suggesting you enter the next Iron-man but the best leaders make sure to get enough sleep and take time to prioritize self-care over work every day. Self-care can be a quick morning run, an hour-long meditation session or eating a salad instead of a burger and fries at lunch. Taking care of yourself puts you in a much better position to take care of others.
Maintain sharp mental acuity: The demands on an executive’s brain power are enormous. The rate of information that is exchanged and the impact of their decisions is a pressure cooker. The best leaders work with their biological imperatives. Early bird or night owl, leaders do the hard stuff when they’re at their sharpest. They also know they only have so much mental real estate and prioritize their work based on how they are most effective. Some people are voracious multi-taskers, others need time to focus, and most leaders need to flex between the two.
It can be challenging to get all of these things right all the time. The good news is that you don’t ever have to be perfect. Unfortunately, there is still a high failure rate among executives. This results from a shortfall in these skills, not their complete absence. Differentiate yourself by taking stock of what you’re already doing, and plan to incorporate the others into your daily routines. You’ll be glad you did!