Empathy and integrity. Confidence tempered by accountability. A big-picture mindset and strong motivational skills.
These are the hallmarks of good leadership. You likely know them well and understand the importance of active listening, long-term planning, and effective communication.
Today, I’m going to talk about how you can go from good to great by going over a few habits shared by some of the best leaders I know.
Take Time To Daydream
Daydreaming carries a few negative connotations when it comes to the business world. We have a tendency to view daydreamers as absent-minded at best, lazy and disconnected at worst. While these viewpoints are common, their perspective is wholly inaccurate.
Daydreaming, or more specifically creative downtime, is a cornerstone of innovation. Amazing leaders understand this. They embrace creativity.
Create downtime to dream up new ideas and encourage their team members to do the same. Recognize that inspiration can strike at any time, whether in the shower or on a daily run and equip yourself with the tools to capture that inspiration. And perhaps most importantly, understand the importance of downtime where mental energy is concerned.
Make Self-Care A Priority
Our culture fetishizes overwork.
We see an entrepreneur burning the midnight oil and we view it as admirable. We see an executive who goes for days without sleep. We see a leader who sacrifices personal-well being for professional success and applaud them for their dedication.
The truth is, these behaviours are both unhealthy and self-defeating. The human body is at its core a complex biological machine. Like any machine, if it’s poorly-maintained, it’s not going to run at peak efficiency. BlueCotton has a great post featuring three things you should do to avoid burnout.
A good leader recognizes this. They understand that if they’re overworked, out of shape, and sleep-deprived, they are not at their best. They take care of themselves in the same way they take care of their business.
Make sure you get enough sleep each night to feel rested in the morning. Strike a balance between work and relaxation that gives you time to recharge. Plan a workout routine and stick to it. Lastly (this is extremely important), avoid greasy, artery-clogging fast food.
In short, treat yourself with the same care that you’d treat your most valued material possessions. While those possessions can be replaced, your body can’t.
Become A Lifetime Learner
“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
You might not expect the words of a 16th-century poet to be applicable to business leaders but the quote above from Shakespeare’s As You Like It is one that every great leader inherently understands. Namely, that no matter how skilled you are, no matter how knowledgeable or capable, you can always improve.
Rather than fleeing your mistakes, embrace them, and learn from them. Instead of discounting suggestions and advice from your team, welcome their input as an opportunity to learn. Keep your mind perpetually open to new insights, knowledge, and information.
Above all, never stop striving to grow and improve. Read about what’s going on in your industry. Pursue new hobbies and skills. Learn to recognize and seize upon learning opportunities wherever and whenever they surface.
There’s more to leadership than communication and motivation. The best leaders don’t just nurture their team. They nurture themselves, creating habits that each day help them be better than they were before.
About the Author:
Brad Wayland is the Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts.