Developing as a leader is a lifelong process. Good leaders are self-aware, adaptable, and continually looking for ways to improve and grow.
Here are 7 things good leaders do every day, and some practical ways you can start incorporating these habits into your daily life.
1. Remember the vision
Good leaders clearly and effectively communicate a vision and keep that vision top of mind. Remind yourself and your team of the purpose of their work, the greater good they’re working toward, daily.
Remind yourself of your vision and recite it daily. The more you believe in the vision, the more your team will buy into it as well. After all, even King Solomon knew a clear vision was necessary for success: “Where there is no vision, people perish” (Proverbs 29:19).
2. Practice thankfulness
Good leaders are humble and thankful for the effort and influence of their teams. Acknowledge employees who are doing a good job, provide incentives for good work (both monetary and non-monetary), promote from within whenever possible, and simply say thank you!
A simple way to demonstrate thankfulness is to take time in your day to personally acknowledge, thank, or encourage a different member of your team. Another way is to lead by doing. Help your team if they need help, and step in and get your hands dirty.
Walking alongside your team “in the trenches” demonstrates you view yourself as part of the team, and also gives you more intimate opportunities to acknowledge (and see firsthand) the hard work that’s being done.
3. Delegate tasks
Though leading by doing is important, so is delegating. You can’t (and shouldn’t) do it all. Delegating tasks allows you to focus on what matters most and also gives employees opportunities for growth.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
You chose the team you have because you believe in them, so give them the chance to shine! Good leaders motivate and encourage, so that no matter how big the challenge, team members feel equipped and prepared to successfully complete the task.
4. Learn something new
How can you juggle your busy schedule and leave a little room for reading, listening to a podcast, or even attending a seminar? Prioritizing your learning can benefit you and your entire team. Read books, attend conferences, listen to thought-leaders outside of your area of expertise.
A good way to start is to simply carve out 30 minutes every day to learn something new. Not sure where to start? We host a weekly podcast featuring Christian leaders promoting flourishing cultures every week. Check out the Flourishing Culture Podcast and start listening today!
5. Reflect often
Leaders who are emotionally intelligent are in tune with their own emotions as well as the emotions of others. In addition to prayer and discussion with loved ones, daily reflection or journaling is an easy way to decompress after a long day, reflect on and write down what you’ve learned about yourself and others, and keep in check with your emotions.
And try this: Periodically throughout the year, spend some time reading through your journal and reflecting on what you’ve learned as you plan for the next year. Good leaders learn from their mistakes and their successes. A helpful way to keep a record of those insights is through daily reflection.
6. Spend time with the Lord
The fruit of the Spirit is an outward indicator of a leader’s character, or his/her spiritual health. As Christian leaders striving to lead like Jesus, we must spend time with Him in order to be like Him. We can only be transformed when our minds are renewed and eyes are fixed on our Savior (Romans 12:2, Colossians 3:2). Your character as a Christian leader is influential and a model for your team.
Build daily habits that point you toward Jesus. Spend time in His Word, engage with Christian community and foster faith (where appropriate) in your workplace through prayer or devotions.
7. Listen first
Because many of your employees simply want to be heard, make listening and understanding your goal. Use good organization skills and carve out open times for your team to talk to you.
At the same time, be open to feedback. You want to create a space that is safe for your employees to speak freely while at the same time facilitating action and problem-solving plans to address their concerns.
Of course, this isn’t your employee’s personal hour of venting, but instead use this time as an opportunity to get to know your team, and hear about their lives and the things that matter.
This can be as small as a 15-minute check-in, a cup of coffee or lunch, or something more formal. Whatever works for you and your team is best. Just remember this is a sacred time, so decide to simply listen.
Good leaders are continually learning and growing. As you continue to grow and develop, you’ll find rhythms that work for you. Start with one or two daily habits you’re already doing. Thoughtfully layer in others as you go along, and give thanks for the positive changes you see happening in you and your team.
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