Leadership Lessons: 4 Habits to Start Forming Today

Leadership cartoon
"What do you mean you don't like my leadership style?"

There’s no question that leadership skills can be learned, cultivated, and improved. Developing leadership skills is like hitting a moving target; the more you practice the better you will become.

Here are four leadership habits to start forming today that have been gathered from experts in the field:

1. Know Yourself

Being a leader requires significant introspection. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Not only is it important to know how you can best add value through your strengths, it’s important to be aware of your shortcomings and identify ways to overcome them.

Ask someone you trust to give you some honest feedback as to what they perceive to be your strengths and weaknesses.

For a great resource to help you identify your strengths, check out Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham.

2. Be Humble

It’s critical to assume positions of leadership without having an “I’m in charge” mentality. Appearing smug or dominating can hinder your ability to influence people. Invite ideas and constructive criticism when you have the opportunity. Remember that being in charge means that you have the responsibility to serve those you're leading.

For more on this topic, check out the book Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf.

3. Be cool

Cultivate a calming demeanor and don't lose your temper in front of your team. Leading a work environment involves managing individual personalities and valuing different work styles. Everyone is unique. Respect the individuals you're leading and be cool if they do something that gets under you skin. Chances are, they're being them, and you're being you.

4. Praise Publicly

Find something that is sincerely worth recognizing or complimenting, and then share it with that person in front of the team. As Maya Angelou said:

People will forget what you said

People will forget what you did

But people will never forget how you made them feel.

Are you currently in a leadership role? Pay it forward and share one thought you have about leadership in the comments.