The 10 habits of highly effective leaders
Leaders are on a perpetual search for the "secrets" to success. What is it that sends people searching for ways to create success in their lives? They grasp at the latest fads and the newest techniques, all with the hope of capturing the magic they see in other successful leaders.
The bottom line is that success on any level requires the ability to follow through, to execute, to persevere ... to stick with it.
In fact, sticking with it may be the very best gauge of success. In a series of studies by the University of Pennsylvania, researchers found those who persevere are more likely to achieve success than those who cannot or do not. Martin E. P. Seligman, a noted researcher in personal attributes, asserts, "Unless you're a genius, I don't think you can ever out-achieve your competitors without a quality like perseverance."
A good plan might get you into the game, but sticking with it catapults you into the winner's circle.
Based on 17 years of field research and real-life experiences with the highest-achieving leaders, here are the habits they stick with:
- Keep it simple. Think in threes to simplify strategies, metrics, messages, and actions. Apply the 80/20 principle to focus on the 20 percent of (employees, products, customers) that are your "vital few."
- Identify your one thing. Decide what is most important--the one activity that most directly helps you execute your plan. Ask your team, "What is the most valuable thing you can do right now?"
- Keep it visible. Consistently and creatively communicate your focus day in and day out. Highly effective leaders maintain a meeting rhythm to get key messages to key people.
- Treasure your talent. Highly effectively leaders hire slow and fire fast. They treat employee development as a perpetual priority and they continuously coach for success, helping their employees reach their potential personally and professionally.
- Get systematic. Create repeatable systems and processes to reinforce daily personal and work habits.
- Keep score. Create and track a visible and compelling scoreboard, top to bottom, in your business. Seek both dashboard (general) and under-the-hood (detailed) knowledge about your operation.
- Paint the picture. Connect each job to a broader purpose. Clearly communicate goals, plans, roles and rewards
- Give what you want. Show uncommon respect with common courtesy. Appreciate performance as well as the person behind it. Build your team up vs. break them down.
- Create connections. Build meaningful ritualizes to connect teams. Be accessible to your team and authentic with them.
- The most highly effective leaders understand that leadership is an inside job, and they always start making changes and improvements with themselves first. They never stop learning, and that's the tenth and most important habit of all.
Lee J. Colan, Ph.D. is co-founder of The L Group, Inc., a consulting firm serving leaders since 1999. Lee's cut-through-the-clutter models resonate with leaders living in an information-rich, time-poor world. He has authored 13 leadership books that have been translated into 10 languages, including the bestselling Engaging the Hearts and Minds of All Your Employees. His latest book is Stick with It: Mastering the Art of Adherence. Learn more by visiting www.theLgroup.com or calling 972-250-9989 (USA).