Let’s talk about some habits that a leader has to develop and then remember to practice every day! A leader is not born with them, and a leader does not naturally develop these habits. It will take your personal discipline to do them correctly and consistently, thus, the discussion about developing a habit.
For the next 21 days, everyday, make it a commitment to practice HABIT #1 A LEADER NEEDS TO DO THE RIGHT THING
I have always said that the difference between a leader and a manager is that the leader, the guy at the front of the organization, wants to do the right thing. The manager, the one who perhaps runs the organization, needs to focus on doing things right. Maybe you are both of these.
It is not easy doing the right thing. Sometimes the right thing is the hardest thing to do. At times, it will take real courage to do the right thing. Being consistent in doing the right thing is hard because things keep changing, pressure comes from different sides, people have different agendas, right and wrong are often closely related. But, a good leader will work on doing what is right every time.
To do the right thing all the time you have to be willing to accept different things:
- Willing to take your time making decisions
- Willing to listen to other people
- Willing to admit you may be wrong
- Willing to ask forgiveness
- Willing to adjust and go another way
- Willing to make the hard call
- Willing to listen to your ‘gut’ in the tough decisions
- Willing to go it alone
- Willing to be criticized, and to carefully evaluate that criticism
- Willing to live by the highest standard as you know it
So, how do you do this?
- Figure out in your own mind who you want to be and who you want people to see when they see you. Do you want people to see a leader who gets it right, or a leader who makes sloppy decisions? What do you want people to say when they talk about you? Perhaps you have a model, and example, or someone you respect as one who does the right thing, makes the good decisions all the time.
- Now figure out what makes you different from that model, that example, that ideal leader. This is really hard because you have to be absolutely honest with yourself. Don’t give in to the excuses. Don’t let yourself say, “I can’t”. Write down what you see as different and list them in order of importance.
- Now, talk with that person and ask how they seem to do the right thing all the time and what it costs them. Go down your list, tell them what you have noticed and ask what to do to accomplish each one of them.
- OK…now you have a least one habit to work on. Something that will help you be consistent in what you say and do, to make the right call every time. It may be a habit that will help you be the same person wherever you are and with whomever you are with.
- Now, make it a habit to think before you act! Check the willing list above. You will be using that a lot for the next 21 days.
- When you have a decision to make, slow down and think it through. Think about what your ‘example’ would do. Work really hard for the next 21 days to make the very best decision regardless of the end result. Ask yourself each time, “What is the right thing to do?” If you don’t have an answer, ask the people around you.
- 21 days. Go slow and think through everything. You will make better decisions and, who knows, you may even be right.
Next important habit: #2 A POSITIVE ATTITUDE