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13 Daily Habits That Can Make You A Better Leader

Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council

Forbes Source:

Being a leader is about consistently growing and developing. While some growth is long-term and big-picture, some of the most impactful changes can come from adopting small, positive habits that happen every day.

We asked a panel of Forbes Coaches Council members what daily habits leaders can adopt to improve their careers, leadership skills, productivity and even happiness. Their answers follow.

1. ‘Rewire’ Your Brain For Happiness

Science proves that when we are happy, our brains allow us to be more creative, make better decisions and see more opportunities. Therefore, rewiring our brains for happiness is crucial for our high performance and success. The most powerful happiness habits are gratitude exercises, meditative visualization of your vision and journaling. - Amy Nguyen, Happiness Infinity LLC

2. Write Down Your Goals 

Every leader should get into the habit of writing down their goals and what they desire in their lives on a daily basis. It’s so easy to get stuck in the day-to-day and lose your vision of what you are really working toward. I have found writing down what I want on a daily basis has helped me hit those goals much faster and feel the purpose in what I am doing that day. Try it! - Taylor Manning, Taylor Manning Creative

3. Improve Your Self-Awareness

We experience a number of emotions at work. Whether they’re positive or negative, they’re data points that impact our state of mind and connect us to our values and principles. By deepening your self-awareness you make better decisions. Tune into the physical manifestations they create (a lump in your throat; a knot in your stomach). Ask what they mean and use them as guideposts for your leadership. - Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC

4. Journal

Every leader should journal. There are many benefits to keeping journals. Journaling can help clarify thoughts and feelings (yes, feelings are important to acknowledge in the work environment as well as at home), solve problems more effectively, and track patterns. And then there is data that suggests that all kinds of successful people, including U.S. presidents, had a daily practice of journaling. - Cindy Stack, Whole-Life Leader

5. Clarify And Reflect On Your Intentions

It is easy to react on autopilot to what happens each day. Transformative leaders make commitments to addressing what is most important and to creatively responding to the situations that arise. Clarify your intentions at the beginning of each day, establishing your ground to act upon. Afterward, reflect on how you did, what you learned and what you want to improve upon tomorrow. - Tom Hardison, Generative Leadership Group, LLC

6. Spend 15 Minutes A Day On Your Career

People talk about busy lives—carving time for family, work, events, yoga and other exercises. But when was the last time you regularly focused on your career? In most cases you wait for years until you pull out the resume and interview questions. Instead, make career building, story building and networking a lifelong goal by spending 15 minutes a day on your career goals. - Joanne Markow, GreenMason

7. Read Something Related To Your Area Of Expertise

As a leader in your industry, you should make it a habit to read at least one article or one chapter of a book related to what you want to be considered a subject matter expert on. It is not only important to have a command of your own thoughts and understanding, but to also know what else is being said about your industry. This can provide ideas for innovation and serve as conversation starters. - LaKesha Womack, Womack Consulting Group

8. Increase Knowledge To Support Your Team

Increase your knowledge tied to your team’s particular challenges. Read articles, review research and listen to podcasts so you can consistently offer value to support your team. Come to meetings prepared to share what you’ve learned so everyone benefits from your new knowledge. Also, reward people who offer dissenting opinions and constructive feedback. This will improve engagement and productivity. - Beth Kuhel, Get Hired, LLC

9. Do Good

The first law of leadership is, “It’s not about you.” It’s about those being led. Your job is to elevate people’s standards, broaden their capabilities and help them add more value. You can’t be successful unless they are. The daily habit you should adopt is to ask the two questions Ben Franklin used to bookend each day. Morning: “What good shall I do today?” Night: “What good have I done today?” - Bill Treasurer, Giant Leap Consulting

10. Invest In Incubation Time

One of the most important stages of the creative thinking process is “incubation.” That’s when your neurons are firing off each other and making new and random connections. This is the stage of “aha moments,” when brilliant ideas miraculously appear out of thin air. That’s why taking “incubation time” is crucial. This could be 15 minutes of meditation, walking the dog or even a spot of knitting. - Gabriella Goddard, Brainsparker Leadership Academy

11. Practice Gratitude

Of course, every good leader reads, takes care of their physical and mental health, meditates, and invests in their personal relationships. But the No. 1 key to present happiness is to count your blessings. Having an attitude of gratitude will not only make you and your organization feel wonderfully fulfilled, but it will support the continued expansion of your success, both financial and personal. - Elizabeth Pearson, Elizabeth Pearson Executive Coaching

12. Meditate

Meditation has an image problem. It is not a religious practice. This ancient technique has tremendous positive benefits on our health, concentration, relationships, focus and much more. It is a tool to declutter your mind, to breathe properly, to slow down and to cultivate a healthy relationship with that crazy voice in your head. - Dr. Natalia Wiechowski, Think Natalia

13. Take A Walk

A daily walk is an easy habit to adopt and it will result in enhanced physical, mental, spiritual and emotional energy. Not only is exercise essential for heart health, but this small investment will sharpen your self-regulation, creativity, resilience and confidence. Too busy? A 20-minute daily walk (when your heartbeat exceeds 120 beats/min) will become your keystone habit. - Deborah Goldstein, DRIVEN Professionals

Article: ©2019 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.


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