10 Killer Habits that will Improve Your Leadership


With the new year just around the corner, you may be ready to wipe the slate clean and take the first steps into future with the hopes of doing things a little better this year. Perhaps your resolution is to eat healthier, or to save money, or maybe it’s to better your business.

As Michael Woronko over at Lifehack.org says:

“It’s not exactly easy being head honcho — decisions have to be made, people have to be swayed, and the pressure’s on to achieve success at the end of the day.”

This year, try to take up a few of these habits commonly found in strong leaders in order to  better lead your team in the new year.

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1. Learn to Stay Composed under Pressure

Your employees and your customers look up to you, so it’s important to be able to keep a cool head even under the most intense of circumstances. Facing your problems head on with a clear and focused attitude is key. Stay confident and calm and settle the issue quickly and efficiently.

2. Work to Improve Yourself

Realize that no one is perfect , and use that as motivation to constantly improve yourself. Take suggestions from customers and employees on how you can better meet their needs. And try to work towards those as goals. Realize that you’re still perfecting your skills and experience. And continue to strive to be the best you can be.

3. Learn to Make Decisions Effectively

According to Woronko, “No great leader has ever been known to be indecisive.” Knowing how to employ good judgement while facing an intimidating decision, and making it quickly and effectively is an important part of the leadership role. Assert yourself when necessary, and take advice when needed.

4. Keep an Open Mind

Being decisive doesn’t mean closing your mind to other ideas. Opening yourself to other possibilities and other ideas besides your own helps you understand a challenge better. Remember, being the leader doesn’t mean you always have all the answers. Be sure you fully understand the situation and potential outcomes before you go forward. Having your customers and employees comfortable enough to share thoughts and ideas gives you the benefits of their experience and knowledge too. And it will help you to better understand and meet the needs and wants of both your customers and your employees.

5. Learn Self-Discipline

Don’t allow your emotions or temptations get in the way of your success. Knowing when to practice self-control and self-discipline is important. As Woronko says:

“You don’t let desires or negative thoughts like greed carry you away. You don’t give into temptations easily and you’re strict with yourself.”

6. Always have a Plan, and a Backup

When your employees or customers come to you in a time of need, it’s important to have a plan to go ahead with. Learn how to strategize effectively and try to plan for the worst case scenario just in case. But also plan for smaller more common issues. Embrace your everyday challenges as ways to improve your business and better serve your customers.

7. Learn to be Self-Reliant

Being able to take care of yourself and others is key in maintaining your role as leader. The abilities to do things on your own initiative and rely on your instincts are key traits of being a strong leader. Collect the tools you need in order for you and your business to be successful instead of relying on others for them.

8. Learn to be Compassionate

As Woronko says, “No good leader is careless in their regard for others.” Being able to put yourself in others’ shoes and to make decisions based on that perspective will help you better serve your customers and employees. Look at things from every angle, and approach issues with a knowledge of other points of view besides your own.

9. Learn When to Admit Defeat

Although overcoming obstacles is an important part in growing your business, you can’t win every battle. Learning when to accept the sting of defeat is an important part of maintaining a successful business. Knowing when to walk away and admit you have been defeated will help you grow and learn from your failures in order to do better next time. So, in this way, even defeat becomes a learning experience.

10. Be Willing to be Held Accountable for the Actions of Others

Sometimes your role as leader means having to shoulder the responsibilities of others’ actions. Be willing to step up and accept the consequences of what your employees and customers do. Because at the end of the day, it’s your business and your responsibility. Sometimes just taking the heat for something small will help strengthen your relationships with those around you. So being willing to ‘jump on the grenade’ and handle the explosive aftereffects is an important part of being in charge.

Are you ready to improve your leadership skills? Adopting some or all of these traits could be a step in the right direction.


Business Leader Photo via Shutterstock

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Aubrielle Billig


Aubrielle Billig Aubrielle Billig is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers business as it is impacted by pop culture, entrepreneurs in the arts, and other topics affecting creative businesses. She has a background as an illustrator and her design page can be found at AubrielleBillustrations.

5 Reactions

  1. #5 is tough for many people because as the boss you’re only accountable to yourself. Being able to hold yourself to high standards and follow through will always be a quality of great leaders.

  2. nice article, if you are ready to learn and adapt the things at any time during your lifetime then sucess will always knock your doors by some means 😉

  3. Martin Lindeskog

    Aubrielle: Have you studied the works by Dr. Edwin Locke? He has written several books and papers on organizational leadership?

    As a side note: I wouldn’t use the word, “killer,” together with a positive business concept. I know that the word, “killer,” is a popular attention grabbing slang word in American English, but it is a pet peeve for me! 😉

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