Highly Effective Habits of New Leaders

I don’t believe in natural born leaders. Instead, a leader is someone who, through a combination of experience and effort, becomes someone worthy of following. If you’re new to a position of leadership, remember that being an effective leader is a skill that can be improved and refined. Honing one’s ability to lead is a lifelong journey that doesn’t end once you reach “the top” or attain your desired job title.  

As a new leader, it’s important to consider which habits, if any, you want to enhance. And while those habits won’t be the same for any two leaders, from my perspective, self-enrichment can be grouped into three categories: development, behavior, and building relationships. 

Self-development: Relentless Learning

This category of skills or habits entails becoming a relentless learner. As a leader, you never want to become complacent. Dedicate yourself to personal development. This might look like prioritizing reading, pursuing ongoing education, or simply aiming to learn something new everyday. As a habit, self-development is about humility as much as it is about improvement. Great leaders know they don’t have all the answers, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to expand their knowledge.

Behavior: Acting and Reacting 

If you inquire about specific behaviors of an effective leader, you’ll receive a variety of responses. One person might say that a good leader is a good listener. Someone else might talk about persistence, preparedness, patience, or the ability to give praise. Rather than getting stuck on the overwhelming list of behaviors a leader can improve upon, think about behavior more broadly. At the end of the day, it’s our actions, not our intentions that people remember, so be thoughtful about how you act and react.

Building Relationships: A Two-way Street

While being a leader requires a certain level of self-awareness and an ability to turn inward, it’s vital to remember the value of your relationships. These relationships span from your family and friends, to your team members and mentors, all the way to clients, investors, and higher-ups. Part of building healthy relationships is being open — a two-way street, so to speak — willing to give and receive feedback and praise and participate in generative conflict when necessary. 

Without healthy, communicative relationships, a leader will struggle to bring their team together. It’s about building bridges and making an effort to relate to all kinds of people from all walks of life.

Effective Leadership Habits

There’s never been a greater need for effective leadership. But leadership doesn’t just happen without hard work. Even once you’re in a position to lead, the skills that made you effective can atrophy if you don’t continue to work on them. Focus your energy on development, behavior change, and relationship building. These things will keep you sharp and prepared for any opportunities that lie ahead.