The habits leaders adhere to on a daily basis either put them in the right mindset to effectively lead people and organizations or they don’t. Most successful leaders follow a daily routine that helps them maintain focus, energy and productivity throughout the day so that they can smoothly address every task on their agenda and any issue that arises.
A leader’s performance and how others perceive their style can largely depend on the things they do each and every day consistently, both inside and outside of work. Below, 14 members of Forbes Coaches Council share the No. 1 habits they believe every leader should adopt and why those habits are so important.
1. Take A Daily Pulse Check
Every leader would benefit from taking a daily pulse check of the organization or team. Get to know the buzz when things are going well in order to know when things are not going well. Those things can then be addressed before they escalate. This might include brief check-ins with team members, a survey, observing behavior, and/or simply listening. It’s ultimately about staying connected. – Angela Morrill, Angela Morrill Leadership & Life Coaching
2. Reflect On Each Day
Reflections are essential: “What did I do well today?” “What did I do better than yesterday?” “How can I improve things that weren’t done well enough today?” We can’t run as leaders; we need to walk. If you run, you will move too fast to see important things and you will not give your team an opportunity to keep pace with you. – Edyta Kwiatkowska, Leadit, Hana Mana Instytut Szkoleniowo-Rozwojowy
3. Remove Negative Emotions
Before starting the workday, program the mindset correctly by removing negative emotion from your language and ground it in fact. For example, if it’s raining, it’s not a “bad day,” it’s a “wet day.” Doing this will get neurons firing in the right direction so you can efficiently problem-solve and make decisions throughout the day. It will help to be the calm in the center of the storm! – Gregg Brown, Change Ready Leadership
MORE FOR YOU
4. Connect To Nature
Connection to nature is key. The effect of seeing green on the nervous system is significant. Even as little as three minutes of looking at an indoor plant reduces stress. Walking in a green environment and breathing the fresh air is even better. – Rajeev Shroff, Cupela Consulting
5. Develop Clarity On Objectives
Develop clarity on what your most important objectives are for the day. Write these down as a daily morning ritual so that they become part of your daily programming and can shine through the fog of daily crises and urgent demands. Include in this practice a review of what was completed/left incomplete the prior day so that the importance is never far from the top of your mind. – Ron N Hurst, Developing Leaders
6. Be Of Service To Others
Ask yourself every morning, “How can I serve my employees/clients/customers more deeply today?” The role of a leader is to set up an environment where others can thrive, and service to others is key to laying a foundation of trust, motivation, support and empowerment. – Cathy Lanzalaco, Inspire Careers LLC
7. Plan Out Daily Priorities
A morning routine that includes daily priority planning is an important habit for leaders. Creating an outline for the day will enhance efficiency, productivity and balance. Further, knocking out some of the to-do items on the list before distractions, stressful situations and other people’s needs take priority will ensure that leaders execute mission-critical work daily. – Lindsay Miller, Reverie Organizational Development Specialists
8. Outline Desired End Results
Open your calendar and spend time outlining the end result you want from each engagement. When coaching leaders, I often witness times where the meetings begin to blur together and a state of mindfulness can be lost. Spend time each morning understanding what needs to be accomplished by you and your team during each meeting so that there is focus, clarity and intention. – Bryan Powell, Executive Coaching Space
9. Practice Daily Meditation
Mediation is the habit that every leader needs to have in their life each day. No matter who or what you lead, everyone needs to get back to their center and quiet their mind and nervous system to be the most effective they can be. Taking time to meditate will allow you to move at a higher frequency, meaning that it’s imperative to slow down in order to speed up. – Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience
10. Exercise Outside Daily
Exercise daily, ideally outside. Even if you only have time to walk from the far part of the parking lot—move. If you have a disability—move. We do not take in enough sunshine or get in enough exercise daily (preferably not bound by our phones). For me, having a watch that tracks what I do helps me not fool myself and get into a physical rut. You have nothing if you don’t have your health. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
11. Inspire Laughter
Laughter is vital to the health of the leader and to their relationships with people in their leadership environment. The benefits of laughter are feeling happy and less stressed. Moreover, studies show that humor promotes a sense of safety, wellness and authentic connection among teammates and colleagues. Leaders who inspire laughter are perceived as more motivating, trustworthy and admired. – Simone Craig, SLC Global LLC
12. Set Aside Time For Yourself
Get away from external distractions and noise. Dedicate your attention to achieving internal calm, whether by taking a walk or through meditation. In this state, the prefrontal cortex functions well to access quality thought, body wisdom can be tapped, and centered breath allows for creative inspiration. From inner quiet and emotional serenity, answers will come to you. – Lisa Marie Platske, Upside Thinking, Inc.
13. Make Time For Learning
Keep learning! Prioritize reading, experiences and listening. Make time daily to keep updated, broaden your mind and expose yourself to contrary perspectives. Being a leader is a responsibility, and to be continually relevant to those we lead, it’s imperative for leaders to learn more than they teach or manage. If continual learning is the input, then the output (leading others) will be exemplary too. – Rittu Sinha, The Balanced Bandwagon
14. Develop A Daily Gratitude Practice
Research shows that feeling grateful may help us balance anxiety and stress. To cultivate gratitude in yourself throughout the year, shift your focus by first pausing and reflecting on what’s working for you. Second, write a gratitude journal. Lastly, take small steps to develop a self-compassion practice. Your body and your mind will thank you in return. – Kelly Huang, Coach Kelly Huang