5 Winning Habits That Will Transform Your Leadership Skills Ready to take your leadership skills to the next level? Discover the five winning habits that will transform you into an exceptional leader!

By John Kitchens

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Taking your skills to the next level is never an easy task. It requires more than just blood, sweat and tears, yet also a desire to become better. It requires you to make the choice to be the best you can be and have the commitment to match it. But not everyone has the drive to become better. Most people tackle everything head-on and still find themselves in the same cycle of wishing for a breakthrough and claiming that this year will be their year.

Will it ever be different? Can our resolve become more than just a wishful thought? What does it take to transform your leadership skills? What do we need to do in order to live the life that we desire and a life that we deserve? What are we missing? Is it money? Fame? Time?

To be truly honest, the answer lies within ourselves. Many leaders expect to come out successful when they don't even have the right attitude to begin with. We fail to realize that we don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training. It is not about luck or chance, it's all about our habits. If we want to become world-class at anything, it will require world-class habits for us to be truly successful.

Habit is the powerful force that shapes our behavior and determines our success. As leaders, we must be able to recognize the habits that will truly make a difference in transforming our skills and create an action plan that will lead to success. Here are five key habits that you need to develop to transform your leadership skills:

Related: 5 Key Habits of Great Leaders

1. Set a known direction

A journey without a destination is a journey without purpose, and this rings true across all aspects of life — whether it be our relationships, our health or our business. We must have an end goal in sight before taking the necessary steps to get there. It is important to take the time to think about what we want to achieve and be specific in our vision.

Knowing exactly where we want to wind up helps us in identifying the steps that should be taken along the way. It also allows us to know what success looks like and help us focus our resources in the most effective and efficient way. Getting into the habit of setting your goals and direction will help you stay on the right track.

2. Plan ahead

Taking the time to plan and map out what you want to accomplish in the year ahead is one of the most important leadership habits for transforming your life. Actions without a plan are like rivers without an outlet, they don't go anywhere. Planning gives us a sense of direction and urgency when starting our tasks. It allows us to know what it's going to take to achieve our desired outcome from an activity standpoint.

It is essential to plan and break down your goals into achievable pieces for each quarter, month, week and day. This allows you to identify a target for each period and the tasks that need to be completed in order to reach it. Once you have a plan in place, it becomes easier to track progress as well as make timely adjustments without getting overwhelmed or distracted. Ultimately, planning ahead with achievable goals helps set yourself up for success and leads to a more productive and effective beginning.

3. Surround yourself with the right people

Surrounding yourself with the right people can hugely impact your life and success. As Nipsey Hussle said, "If you look at the people in your circle and don't get inspired, then you don't have a circle. You have a cage." We need to make sure that the people we're surrounding ourselves with are those people who are telling us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear.

Your circle should be able to keep you in check and also lift you up — reminding you to believe that you've got what it takes to make it to the next level. This will help you be accountable for your habits and grow in leadership and success. Remember that if your people don't inspire your growth, then they're not the right people. Be kind to yourself, and avoid toxicity. Find positive, like-minded individuals who are passionate about achieving their goals and create the right environment for you to grow.

Related: 3 Bad Leadership Habits to Leave Behind This Year

4. Show up better than anybody expected

"Nobody will truly value you until you truly value yourself first."

Showing up and putting in the effort to become better than what your expectations are is one of the basic things that we shouldn't forget. Even if we don't feel like it, we owe it to ourselves to show up with our best — not for the sake of others but for ourselves. And for us to play on any next level in any equity of our life, we've got to be willing to make the commitment to show up no matter what. Being able to push yourself to do more than what is expected of you, and doing it consistently, will help you hone your leadership skills and set you up for success.

5. Put in the work

Taking things to the next level takes more than just saying you want to do it. We should be willing to make sacrifices and put in the work because there is no silver bullet. There is no magic pill. The magic pill is hard work. We've got to be willing to make sacrifices to change our behavior, to change our habits. That's where people get left behind. They're not willing to make sacrifices with their time, money and relationships. And that's what will hold people back from achieving things. If we want to become the best in the industry, we have to take the initiative and put in the work.

Anything that we want in our life that's at a pro level, we are not going to get there with amateur habits. It's not enough to want success — we need to be willing to work for it. Only then will you reach the next level of leadership skills and success that you desire. After all, success is not a destination, it's a lifestyle.

Related: 5 Habits of Leaders at the Top of the Ladder

Wavy Line
John Kitchens

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CEO of John Kitchens Coach

John Kitchens is the most sought-after systems and processes coach for real-estate agents that want to turn their real-estate practice into a business. He is an expert in identifying constraints and honing strategies that lead to clarity and success. www.johnkitchens.coach

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