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  • Writer's pictureChristine King

5 Habits of Effective Leaders

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

I was struck this morning that over the 30+ year course of my career, many of the same professionals followed me from team to team and organization to organization. I delve deeper into this journey in my forthcoming book, Breaking Through the Silicon Ceiling. This is a point of pride because these individuals were phenomenal leaders and could have chosen to pursue any path they desired. Some of my team leaders have gone on to become CEOs of their own organizations. I’m proud and humbled that my leadership inspired them to follow me over the course of their careers.


With this on my mind, I reflected on what I offered that warranted that sort of loyalty. The good news is that effective leadership is not something you’re either gifted with or not - it’s a skill you can develop and hone over time. So today, I’d like to share five proven habits of effective leaders that have worked for me over my career and can help you excel in your own leadership role.


5 habits of effective leaders

5 habits of effective leaders


Here are five habits of effective leaders that you can implement today:


1. Discover what motivates your team

As a leader, one of your primary responsibilities is getting to know each team member individually through collaboration and observation. Pay attention to what motivates each individual to perform their best. For instance, you may boost one person's motivation with frequent recognition and praise for their outstanding work, while another might thrive on a shared purpose and mission. By tuning into what inspires them, you can offer the optimal level of encouragement and assistance, leading to a more motivated and productive team ready to conquer their goals.


2. Lead by example

Your behavior, work ethic, and attitude should mirror the values and expectations you have for your team. Effective leaders don’t command control. Instead, they inspire others to follow willingly. You can achieve that by being a mission-focused leader rather than an ego-focused one. Acknowledge that you don't have all the answers. Encourage open dialogue and value diverse perspectives. Focus on collaboration and fostering a shared vision. Trust your team to perform to your standards, but always be prepared to step in when they veer off track or require guidance.




3. Provide your team with opportunities

Throughout my leadership journey, I’ve been fortunate to attract a steady stream of talented individuals to my teams. I believe this is because I'm committed to providing all team members with opportunities that empower their professional growth and pave the way for their success. Here are some ways I achieve this:


  • I encourage my team members to push their boundaries and do their best to reach their full potential.

  • I delegate responsibilities in areas where they can grow their expertise, allowing them to take charge independently, with the assurance that my support is readily available when needed.

  • I acknowledge and compensate them for their hard work and dedication.


4. Encourage others to be enthusiastic about the mission

Ensure you fully believe in your company or team’s mission, or no one else will. To spark your team’s enthusiasm for the mission, frequently connect their work to the mission and larger impact on humanity and the world, if possible. Involve your team in setting the goals to achieve that mission.


If you’re leading a small company or team, and the sense of direction is unclear, bring all members together for a couple of days of team bonding. During this time, set goals and collaborate. When your team feels like they’re part of the planning of the mission, they’re more likely to feel enthusiastic about completing it.



5. Multiply your effect

As an individual, you can only achieve so much, as we all have limited bandwidth and time. When you leverage a team, however, you can achieve much more. I mean it makes sense, right? On a simplified, linear basis, if you can perform X amount of work in a day or week, you and a team of four others can theoretically perform +/-5X the amount of work.


But the reality is that teams can have an exponential, multiplier effect on your impact! As a leader, think on the system level and consider how the individuals on your teams can operate as a single, higher-order entity to achieve your goals. Consider every team member’s unique abilities, strengths, and weaknesses and how they all fit together to achieve the vision for your team. Determine whether there are any talent gaps and then find the right people to fill them. Only once you’re thinking on the team level will you achieve your maximum leadership potential.



Conclusion

As you reflect on your own leadership journey, remember this: Leadership is all about relationships, understanding your team's motivations, and focusing on the mission. Through my many roles, I've learned that these five habits are about more than just leadership; they're about forging connections, collaborating, and nurturing purpose. Whether you're steering a multinational corporation or guiding a small team, adopt these habits, tailor them to your context, and watch your leadership flourish.


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