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7 Habits of Remarkably Successful Leaders

Great leaders are made, not born. Maximize your effectiveness by emulating these habits.
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Every great business needs effective and successful leaders--men and women who can inspire their employees to reach deep within themselves to get things done. Unfortunately, almost 60% of all businesses have a shortage of leadership talent, and this shortage has a negative impact on the ability of these organizations to perform and reach their goals. Thirty-seven percent of workers have left jobs because of bad leadership.

Leadership is more an art than it is a science, and anyone can become a better, more effective, and more successful leader. Practice these seven habits of remarkably effective leaders to up your own leadership game--and the game of other leaders in your organization.

1. Perspire

It's no secret. A significant part of great leadership begins and ends with effort--lots of effort. Learn how to work well with others, how to build effective teams, and how to envision a bright future for your business and then guide people toward it. Learn everything you can about the art and practice of business, yourself as a leader, and your organization. Be relentless in your pursuit to be the best leader you possibly can.

2. Show grace under pressure

When times are tough, be that person in your organization who people look to for inspiration. Avoid simply talking about what you would do. Instead, take action--especially when a response and action are what is needed to get things back on track. Learn to assess situations, act decisively, and find ways to reassure your employees and help them overcome their own feelings of self-doubt and anxiety in challenging or changing times. Calmly guide your organization through the inevitable rough patches with poise, confidence--and heart.

3. Have integrity

If you ask employees what they want most from their leaders, chances are that they will say "integrity." Employees want their leaders to be honest, fair, candid, and forthright, and to give everyone an equal shot at opportunities, including promotions, assignments, and training. When you act with integrity, your employees will respond in kind--and they will be more loyal to you and your business.

4. Inspire teamwork

Form teams and groups whose synergy and efforts really get things done. Recognize that for most people to do their very best work, they require the support and input from co-workers, peers, and their boss. When you support your employees by creating this kind of environment in your own business, you can expect turnaround times to decrease while engagement, self-direction, and productivity increase.

5. Have unwavering faith in yourself and your people

Have faith in your vision for your organization, regardless of what lies ahead. Know, in your heart, that you and your team can accomplish anything you set out to accomplish if you work together toward the organization's goals. You will undoubtedly encounter setbacks along the way, but don't let opposition deter you if you truly believe what you want is reasonable and right for your organization. Think of setbacks as merely providing you with more information about what you truly want. Confident leaders use lessons learned from setbacks to improve their own performance--and the performance of their business.

6. Communicate

Remarkably successful leaders make a habit of communicating candidly and often to everyone in their organizations. They inform, provide feedback, and motivate by really connecting with their employees and opening channels for their employees to communicate with them. When you hear your own words and messages coming back to you from your employees, or when your employees talk among themselves using your words, you know you're making a positive impact.

7. Look at the big picture

Much of every leader's job is dealing with crises and problems--it's a key part of the position. But the most successful leaders always remember to step away from the everyday issues they must deal with to look at the big picture. This means keeping an eye on the horizon for new opportunities to be acted on, and new problems to be avoided. If you find yourself constantly surprised by new developments in your business or markets, then you're not taking enough time to look at the big picture.

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IMAGE: Shutterstock
Last updated: Jul 25, 2014

PETER ECONOMY

While Peter Economy has spent the better part of two decades of his life slugging it out mano a mano in the management trenches, he is also the best-selling author of Managing for Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, and more than 75 other books, with total sales in excess of two million copies. He has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years, where he has worked on projects with the likes of Jim Collins, Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and many other top management and leadership thinkers. Sign up here to always stay up to date with Peter's latest Inc.com columns, and visit him anytime at petereconomy.com.




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