Habits of Great Leaders

A great leader can mean something different to each of us, but there are universal truths. A great leader is someone who is empathetic, someone who innovates, someone who has mastered change management and someone who has a focus on communication. And great leaders are always thinking ahead, predicting moves both internal and external, focusing on the big picture strategy along with current action steps and goals.

Wow, that’s a lot!

I’ve been working for TeamStrength interacting with great leaders for the last 8 years. This year, I joined the team full-time to add value to our leaders, take over administration, and learn.

Over the years, I’ve seen great leaders make the decisions necessary to take their company to the next level. Combining that experience with books like The Rockefeller Habits, and classes at the Mini-MBA program at Rollins Crummer Graduate School of Business, I’ve outlined five main habits of successful leaders.

  1. Great leaders have the hard conversations, also known as Adult Conversations or Fierce Conversations. The best leaders face issues, especially with underperforming team members or miscommunicated goals, head on.
  2. Great leaders care about employee feedback and welcome criticism as an opportunity for growth. They reach out to their employees for feedback and take that feedback and act on it. Dr. Bronwyn Hoffmann, a professor at the Mini-MBA Program who presented on emotional intelligence reminded us that the best leaders treat criticism as an opportunity for growth. Whether it’s the growth of the company, themselves, or the person who is giving misguided feedback.
  3. Great leaders take time to meet, and meet efficiently and effectively. The Rockefeller Habits spends an entire chapter outlining the right meeting schedule for a company. It includes Daily, Weekly, Bi-Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly meetings in a structure that was first described by Patrick Lencioni in Death by Meeting. Great leaders today focus on creating a meeting rhythm or pulse for their company to drive alignment, clear communication, and strategy.
  4. Great leaders focus on change management and have mastered the predictive foresight for future goals and strategy. They know that in order to stay great, adaptability must be at the core of their decisions. In general, people are able to recognize the amount of change that has happened in the past and only the great leaders recognize the amount of change that is coming. Verne Harnish says, “The fundamental job of the leader is prediction.” And with that, adapting in the right direction.
  5. Great leaders generate a culture of innovation and learning. They take time out of their busy lives to learn, find ways to improve themselves and their company, and prepare for change and innovation. In the Rollins Mini-MBA, I find myself in classes learning from the best professors and leaders and surrounded by people who are excited to be there and excited to learn and improve. Peter McAlindon, an entrepreneur who presented the class on innovation, reminded the class: “If you’re not outside your comfort zone, you’re not learning.” The best leaders consistently push the limit of what is comfortable and what is better.

TeamStrength has taught me the power of learning from others, the power of critical, honest feedback, and the power of leaders with open minds. I can’t wait to see what this year has to bring and I am incredibly grateful to the great leaders at TeamStrength who have given me this opportunity.