The Habits of Great Leaders

The Habits of Great Leaders

The habits of great leaders regardless of field include:

  • Superb time management skills
  • Being present and transparent with their teams
  • Great listeners
  • Constant learners
  • Being first to work

When you lead a team, a project or an entire operation it’s easy to get bogged down in the weeds, which prevents or deters spending quality time on initiatives that are most important.  Great leaders are weed whackers to help ensure that they spend their time on the right priorities.  

  • Delegate as much as possible.  Bill Marriott (Marriott Chairman) advised that a CEO should never perform a task that could be accomplished by someone else.  Effective delegation allows a leader to focus on the right tasks and allocate their time not only strategically, but more effectively.
  • Make a daily to do list for the next day before you leave the office to prevent from getting sidetracked on stuff that can happen daily.  
  • Schedule dedicate time for specific projects that is uninterrupted.  
  • Perform the more difficult tasks early in the day. In his book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timingnotes that the brain works better on analytical problems in the morning and better in the afternoon to solve insight problems.

The need for leaders to be transparent cannot be overstated.  Most everyone can spot a phony a mile away.  In a remote or hybrid world, being transparent requires more frequent and open communication to provide updates to your team and to also obtain feedback. It’s critical to strong culture for team members to believe that their opinions and ideas count.  Being present with your team is time well spent.

Great leaders are active listeners and not only listen for content but also for context.  One of the keys to becoming a more effective listener and a really good leader is to actually care about what someone else has to say. This is accomplished by recognizing both the verbal and nonverbal cues the person speaking to you is trying to convey.  Not only do you need to carefully listen to the words someone is saying, but also to be aware of tone of voice, facial expressions and body language.  Next, you need to have the ability and the desire to process information received. And finally, you need to respond appropriately to validate that you understood what the information conveyed.

Great leaders never stop or want to stop learning.  

Most great leaders are the first or among the first to arrive at the office every day.  Arriving early allows you to prepare for the day uninterrupted, respond to emails before the phone starts to ring and reaffirm the daily to do list.  Arriving first also sets an example especially during these times when much of the team is working remotely.  Starting early helps to set the focus for the day and puts you in a position to respond to unexpected changes or challenges.  

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