4 Habits of Great Business Leaders
A Note From The Editor
Think your company has what it takes to make our Top Company Cultures list? Apply now.Apply now »
Leadership studies have identified more than 50 different qualities leaders have or develop over time. Of those qualities, a few seem to be present in almost every leader who accomplishes great things and earns the undying respect and loyalty of other people. Let's take a look.
Develop a vision.
To become a person of character and a leader in your community, you must develop the habit of vision. You must learn to project forward several years into the future and develop absolute clarity about what you want to accomplish and what it will look like if you're successful.
One way to develop a vision for each part of your life is to conduct the "magic wand" exercise. Imagine you could wave a magic wand and make your life perfect in every way. Imagine you have no limitations on what you can be, have or do. Create an image of how your life would be if it were perfect in every way.
Imagine you have no limitations of time, money, resources or ability. Imagine that everything is possible for you. Just as you would design your dream house if you had an unlimited budget, take some time to design your "dream future" as if you had unlimited abilities and resources.
The greater clarity you have regarding your long-term vision, the easier it will be for you to motivate yourself and inspire other people to work with you to make that vision a reality.
Related: 50 Rules for Being a Great Leader
Be the best at what you do.
In business, the most important long-term vision you can have for your organization is to "be the best." Identify a quality of your product or service that's relevant and important to your customers and then focus all the energies and creativity of your organization toward achieving superior performance in that area. Developing the habit of thinking in terms of making your business the very best in your industry is an essential quality of visionary leadership. Without this commitment to excellence, you'll automatically default to mediocre or merely satis;factory performance.
Dare to go forward.
The third most common habit of great leaders at every level is the habit of courage. Many people have exciting hopes, dreams and visions for the future, but only a few have the courage to take the necessary risks to turn those visions into realities.
The most important part of courage is the willingness to act in the direction of your goals and dreams, with no guarantee of success. Courage requires you to take risks with time, money, emotion and other resources. Courage requires you to accept the possibility of losses, setbacks, obstacles, difficulties and temporary failure.
It's impossible to succeed without failing, at least for a time. You only learn to succeed by failing and then evaluating the reasons for your failure. The faster you fail in a forward direction, the faster you succeed.
Overcome your fears.
You develop the habit of courage by moving toward the things you fear. From this day forward, make it a habit to confront your fears, do the things you fear and deal with the people and situations that make you afraid. Each time you face a fear and overcome it, not only does your courage increase, but so does your self-esteem and self-respect.
Develop the habit, from this day forward, of identifying the things you fear may be holding you back and then confronting each one of them until they contain no more fear for you. As actor Glenn Ford once said, "If you do not do the thing you fear, the fear controls your life."
Make it a habit to do the things you fear, and the death of fear is certain. As your level of courage and confidence increases, your fears and doubts will decrease. The more you confront your fears and eliminate them, the stronger and more confident you will feel. As your fears diminish, you'll become more powerful and persuasive. You'll move forward like a rushing flood. You will become unstoppable.