In a recent talk I gave for Image Magazine, one of the audience asked me the following “Ciara, what habits do the successful leaders you coach have?”
The answer I gave her is what you would expect, that most successful leaders have a couple of powerful habits that help them to maintain their energy, their focus and their motivation.
These habits are the habit of exercise, the habit of meditation and the habit of staying organised.
The Habit of Exercise
The habit of Exercise helps to give them energy. It improves focus and concentration. It uplifts the mood and usually makes people feel more in control of their lives. Exercise is a keystone habit and generally acts as a catalyst to other positive habits, so its one not to be overlooked. Check out these 7 tips to help you start the habit of Exercise
The Habit of Meditation
Meditation promotes a sense of wellbeing. It usually brings with it clarity, focus and calm. Three attributes any aspiring leader would cry out for. Meditation can also help to make you aware of being more present. Presence, staying in the moment is a challenge for most of us, as we are are now living in the age of distraction. We are addicted to being stimulated at all times, pulling out our phones at every opportunity. What this has done is reduce our ability to focus on task and relationships to the degree that they deserve.
The Habit of Staying Organised
Staying organised helps leaders maintain a feeling of control. It helps them to plan and prioritise their work and avoids overwhelm and stress. Staying organised by planning your week in your calendar, maintaining a task list and keeping your inbox under control will ensure that you keep stress away and overwhelm at a distance.
Time and time again I see an obvious gap between performance and high performance and that gap can be filled with one or all of those three habits.
But there is another habit that I forgot to mention that night and it is one that not only has the capacity to elevate teams and organisations but one that the world needs to help heal our planet.
The Habit of Kindness.
Kindness is too often overlooked as being a weak trait and not one to be associated with powerful leaders. Powerful leaders need to get things done, they need to set the pace and drive towards results. But we now know that this directive or forceful form of leadership only gets results in certain situations and does not give good results over the long term. In a lot of organisations the heavy handed approach is what is rewarded, it’s rewarded because it usually gets us results in task. What it doesn’t take into account is the lack of engagement, possible absenteeism and high staff turnover it initiates.
What about the behaviours that uplift, support and inspire a person to do their best? Human beings want recognition, to know that they are valued and loved so why not treat them with respect and encouragement and see the loyalty that you will earn as a result.
Several studies have been carried out on the effects of compassion in the workplace. In one particular study the results showed that practicing kindness everyday was both emotionally positive and contagious for those involved. People who received kindness were up to 278% more generous to their co-workers than the control group.
So don’t be fooled when we speak about kindness, and know that it does not mean shifting focus away from results. Neither does it mean avoiding accountability nor allowing people to do as they wish. Kindness means acknowledging the person in front of you, listening, respecting and encouraging. Helping when help is needed and pushing when a push is needed.
This type of kindness is a habit that a lot of great leaders possess and one that will earn you respect and followers into the future.