Behind every successful business is exceptional leadership. Without inspired leaders guiding them, employees aren’t nearly as motivated. Such a lack of direction and enthusiasm will hamper their performance and, in turn, stunt the healthy growth of the business.
How can you sustain your leadership capabilities over the long term? Fortunately, incorporating positive habits and behaviors into your day is an effective way to stay focused, confident and energized.
We asked the experts of Forbes Coaches Council what surprising habits their most successful clients practice to consistently strengthen their ability to lead. Here are 16 daily habits that these experts believe can help you to thrive as a leader as well.
1. Schedule A Daily Reminder To Never Give Up On Yourself
Leadership comes with not only an increased responsibility to guide and mentor your team, but also a personal responsibility to yourself. Recognize the steps you’re taking to become more aware of your weaknesses and your strengths. This vulnerability deserves compassion and kudos, as we often forget to promote and reward ourselves for the “wins.” – Reena Sharma, Agilis Executive Consulting
2. Choose A Maximum Of Three Specific Tasks Per Day
Being intentional about the day means backing up your goals for a year into quarters, into months, into weeks, into days and into your calendar. Set no more than three very specific tasks daily that will move you and your team forward toward achieving your set goals and desired outcomes. Don’t take your eye off the main focus; when you do, you become reactive versus proactive and intentional. – Shelley Smith, Premier Rapport
3. Set An Intention For The Day
Setting an intention for the day is a powerful tool for deciding what you want to do and how you want to do it. Using intention-setting worksheets or a period of quiet, set intentions for tasks, long-term goals and how you want to move throughout your day. Stated with specificity and in the affirmative, intentions leverage the brain’s neuroplasticity for conscious creation. – Vanita Bellen, True North Coaching and Consulting
4. Don’t Let Your Thoughts And Emotions Run Unchecked
Stop and identify your feelings. Identify the automatic, unconscious and negative thought or belief that is causing your feeling. Ask yourself if there is any evidence for that belief. Then, create an alternative, positive yet realistic belief about yourself or the situation. Choose one that will benefit you the most. – Dan Messinger, Cream of the Crop Leaders
Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?
5. Do The Hardest Thing First Every Day
Something being “hard” isn’t necessarily about its technical difficulty; it’s the essential thing that needs to be addressed (that perhaps you’ve been avoiding). The rest of the day feels like a gift, and you are free to pay full attention to other important matters without the nagging worry about that untended-to matter. You can focus and lead with increased energy. – Joanne Heyman, Heyman Partners
6. Focus On Your Vision
By focusing on the vision, we make choices to propel us to our goals rather than falling into the rut of how we’ve always done it. Have a challenge? Ask yourself how the woman who’s already accomplished her vision would handle it. You’ll discover that you are capable of operating at a high level and get to those goals even faster. – Elise Montgomery, Coach Elise Montgomery
7. Eat A Healthy Breakfast
No joke. My most successful clients find time to look after their physical needs: diet, sleep and exercise. They realize the importance of caring for their physical well-being if they are going to have the resilience and stamina to lead teams and grow revenues. In addition, they know this sets a good example for their employees. I’d call that a win-win. – Antonia Bowring, ABstrategies LLC
8. Set Fixed Daily Working Hours
Most of the successful leaders give utmost priority to balancing work and family. They believe that a happy personal life has a direct implication on a successful professional career. Therefore, they manage time effectively and are able to create a happy and engaged team. – Pritha Dubey, Success Vitamin
9. Read Inspirational Quotes
Many successful people have the habit of reading inspirational quotes. I use quotes in coaching and in my courses to create thought-provoking discussion, compare and contrast leaders of the past and present, offer inspiration in 60 seconds or less and create a teachable lesson. I recommend Forbes.com/Quotes to successful leaders who want to incorporate this easy yet effective practice. – Mika Hunter, Female Defender
10. Wake Up Early
My most successful clients start their day early; many have joined the “5 a.m. club” of purposeful early risers! For them, it’s about being able to have quiet and undisturbed time at the start of their day. This allows them to “step up onto the balcony” to think through challenges, problems and projects objectively and rationally so that they can plan their approach and response effectively. – Simi Rayat, Wellbeing Face Ltd
11. Make Time For Yourself In The Morning
My clients make time in the morning to be by themselves without the distraction of the rest of the household or social media. During this time, they choose a morning routine that works for them, which may include exercise, meditation, a cup of coffee or even journaling and reflection. This has the impact of allowing them to feel centered mentally, emotionally and physically before the business of the day. – Linda Aiyer, InfinitU Consulting
12. Wake Up With A Servant’s Heart
Everyone has some kind of morning routine, but my most sustainable, happy and, perhaps more importantly, joyful clients start their day meditatively, reflecting on what they need to do to serve those in front of them. Their efforts are to support, encourage and help others, and that sets off a positive pace that lasts longer than a day. It is a work lifestyle. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
13. Maintain Your Sense Of Humor
The surprising daily habit that all of my clients who are successful leaders have is a sense of humor. They are able to laugh at least once a day, if not more. Laughter relaxes the body and mind, which creates a sense of well-being. Keeping a healthy personal ecosystem is critical for leaders to support their objectivity, creativity, resilience and resourcefulness. A good sense of humor keeps everything in perspective. – Bobbie Goheen, Synthesis Management Group
14. Take Time For Reflection
Just jumping into “doing mode” is not a good practice. Get off the dance floor and go to the balcony for a different perspective. Start a daily practice of thinking about what’s working, what’s not working and what kind of support your team needs from you today. Then, you are in a much better position to make a plan. – Wendy Hanson, BetterManager
15. Keep A Daily Journal
Many of my clients have started journaling in some form or another, whether it’s actually writing by hand, typing or dictating into a voice recorder or their phone. It’s an excellent way to process, frame and reframe the day’s events and plan for the following day while also increasing self-awareness significantly over time. – Dhru Beeharilal, Nayan Leadership, LLC
16. Find Moments Of Play
Being playful, even in small ways, activates energy, “happy hormones” and creativity. This could mean putting on your favorite song (and better yet, dancing as if no one is watching), telling a corny joke, facilitating a team icebreaker game in your next meeting, watching a funny video, gamifying a work task or pausing to do something fun with your family. – Glenn Taylor, Skybound Coaching & Training