When you think about the accomplishments of great business leaders, the scope of their achievements may seem intimidating. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from them in order to become a better leader yourself. Let’s examine some habits of great business leaders that you can adopt to strengthen your leadership skills. When practiced consistently, these great habits provided by The Hartford, can set you apart and help your business grow.
Great leaders know that routines help eliminate unnecessary distractions and decisions. Your workday should save time and money by managing the right way, have routines that increase efficiency and cut out trivial decisions. For example, check your email only three times a day: in the morning, lunch and an hour before leaving. Other than that, keep your inbox closed. You’ll be surprised at how much time you save. “What if someone has an emergency?” you ask. Well, if it’s a real emergency, they’ll call you.
Think On It
Great leaders think things through. Carve out time to think deeply each day. The next time something stresses you out – write it down. Write down what the problem is, how it makes you feel, what is going to happen if the problem continues and what you can do about it. Then step away from that problem for a few hours. Come back to it and reread what you wrote. This exercise helps you see the issue for what it really is, instead of through the lens of a problem.
Great leaders don’t just have big ideas; they make big ideas a reality with careful planning. Clearly define your goal and make it measurable. Don’t just plan for a successful business, be specific. Define what success will look like. Then ask yourself every night before bed “if I spend every day like this, will I reach my goal?” If the answer is no, make the necessary adjustments.
Take Decisive Timely Actions
Great leaders know that a decent plan executed today is better than an awesome plan executed after it’s too late. Being decisive doesn’t mean being reckless. Get as much information as possible and then make a pros and cons list for each of your options. Once you’ve weighed each decision, imagine your life 5, 10 and 30 years down the road if you’d made each decision. Then act decisively.
Own your mistakes. Great leaders know that sometimes plans don’t work out. When you encounter setbacks, you have to own them. Everything is on you when you run a business. When something goes wrong, ask yourself, “How is this tied to my decision-making?” Even if it was an employee who made the mistake, you’re the one who hired and trained them – or hired the people who hired and trained them. When you own this level of responsibility, admitting you made a mistake isn’t a big deal because you’ve accepted that everything is your decision. This sounds overwhelming but it is actually quite empowering.
Make Others Feel Heard
Great leaders know that their employees help provide the creativity and energy needed to grow a business. That’s why it’s important to listen to their ideas and concerns. Pay attention to what you say when chatting with employees. Do you follow up their statements with a statement about yourself, or do you follow up with a question that encourages them to continue? Try to keep the conversation focused on the other person and make note of the important things they tell you. Casually follow up with them about it a few days after the conversation. This subtle bit of selfless conversation shows your employees that you are genuinely interested and value their input. Plus, it’ll help you stay abreast of the workplace happenings that otherwise might not reach your ears.
Invest in Others
Great leaders make it their mission to help employees reach their potential, which means investing time, energy and resources to help employees grow. No matter your budget or business size, you should always be educating your employees. In the next month, make it a point to offer one educational experience to every employee. It doesn’t have to be a fancy seminar that costs a fortune; it could simply be the latest and greatest instructional video or a subscription to a magazine that would be helpful for them. In three months, find a new educational bonus to offer them but keep the old one around if it’s still relevant.
Don’t feel overwhelmed by all of these steps. Remember they’re just that: Steps! Try adding a new one to your life every two weeks. Keep at it until that new step becomes a habit. Then move on to the next one on the list. For the full article, visit The Hartford here.