Warren Buffett has no shortage of advice when it comes to improving your leadership. One of his most infamous tips is being able to break your bad habits--those habits that you know deep down are holding you back. We all have them.
Buffett warned graduating students at the University of Florida to practice good habits as soon as possible before forming bad ones.
I see people with these self-destructive behavior patterns. They really are entrapped by them. You can get rid of it a lot easier at your age than at my age, because most behaviors are habitual. The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.
Sure, it's much easier to shake off bad habits in your 20s than in your 50s. But whatever your age, getting rid of your most self-destructive habits is crucial or success.
The first step is admitting that a bad habit exists and is in the way of achieving your goals. Once your bad habit is in full view and you are aware of it, the next step is to be fully committed to conquering it with new habits.
3 Most Common Bad Habits
You can start with what I've seen as three of the most common bad habits. Even yours truly has had to acknowledge that one of these was getting in the way of my becoming a better leader and coach for my clients (can you guess which?). Perhaps you'll agree with me that taking control of these potentially self-destructive habits will greatly increase your chances for success.
1. Poor listening skills.
Before you assume you're fit to lead, you have to ask yourself, Am I a good listener? Because if you're going to lead, you need to be.
Recent research published in Harvard Business Review supports evidence that leaders who listen well "are perceived as people leaders, generate more trust, instill higher job satisfaction, and increase their team's creativity."
The first step to becoming a better listener is to eliminate the noise -- from your distracted mind and your physical and digital environment.
In 2016, I conducted an independent workplace survey and received hundreds of responses to the question: "What is the one mistake leaders make more frequently than others?"
Micromanagement was the No. 1 mistake employees across the globe felt their managers make. Managers who dominate people, decisions, and processes will ultimately derail a team's morale.
One tip-off that you may be working for a micromanager is hearing a phrase that should never come out of a leader's mouth: "I am the boss."
3. Poor communication skills.
This one comes up repeatedly as a critical area for improving business performance. Yet not all of us are aware that it is a problem we need to fix. We may not ask enough questions to get all the information we need, or we may communicate disrespectfully at people, talk too fast, too slow, or not at all when we need to.
Buffett himself told a young entrepreneur that the way to become worth 50 percent more than the previous year is to naturally invest in yourself by honing your communication skills, both written and verbal.
The Oracle of Omaha said: "If you can't communicate, it's like winking at a girl in the dark--nothing happens. You can have all the brainpower in the world, but you have to be able to transmit it. And the transmission is communication."