Leadership Training: 7 Leadership Habits to Take Your Company to the Next Level

Leadership Training: One of our biggest responsibilities as a leader of a company is to help intentionally shape our company culture. Your leadership habits have an oversize impact on the culture you’re creating.  Your team watches everything you do. Even when you think no one is looking, everyone is.

Here are 7 leadership habits that when absorbed into your company’s culture will help you progress your business to the next level.

1. Be on time, all the time.
We have to start with first things first. Be on time—all the time. This simple behavior shows to your team that you take your commitments seriously and live with integrity.

We are inductive beings. That means that we take small slivers of experience and generalize out from them. When you’re on time, people interpret that to mean that you have more follow through.

2. Meet your own deadlines (and take responsibility for when you can’t).
Not only is it important for you to be on time for meetings and appointments, but you also need to take your own deadlines seriously.

Your example makes a difference. Of course there will be times when you can’t make a deadline. That’s life. How you handle those moment’s matters. Do you rationalize why you didn’t meet a stated deadline?

Instead, own it, and get clear on what you learned and what you’ll do moving forward. Behave how you want your team to behave, even when you’re not there to see them do it.

3. Clarify all action items and deliverables in writing at the end of every meeting.
One of the biggest reasons things get missed is because they weren’t handed off cleanly to begin with. Many times the receiving party doesn’t know just what they’ve been asked to do.

Hence the need to clarify all action items and deliverables in writing. This makes sure that you’ve captured all your action items.

Wherever possible, number the commitments so that they are absolutely clear.

At your next meeting this might sound like: “Okay, summing up here’s what I’ve committed to: I’ve got three action items here. Item one is to review the Johnson Proposal and make a yes or no decision by this Friday end of business. Item two is to give feedback via email to Carl about the new orientation process. And item three is to send out the date of our next quarterly planning session to the exec team by noon tomorrow. [I encourage you to visibly write each of them down in your notes as your meeting progresses]. Now Cheryl, I have down that you’ve committed to two items…

Teach your team to employ this same skill with their staff.

4. Clearly state what you can’t commit to so that you don’t lower the accountability bar in your company by missing a “phantom deliverable.”
“Phantom deliverables” are those things that the other person thinks you committed to but you didn’t.

As a leader, you need to exhibit great communication by making any phantom deliverables you see come out of a meeting explicit. That way if you can commit to that deliverable, you do so, and if you can’t, you clarify that you are not committing to it.

5. “Close” the accountability loop.

It’s one thing to meet your commitments, but it’s another to make sure that the other parties involved get that you’ve done so. So “close” the loop.

Mark, as promised, here is the Data Form Proposal due to you tomorrow…

Explicitly let them know you’re closing the loop so that they don’t inadvertently think that you missed your commitment. This also models clean communication for your team.

6. Ask, don’t immediately solve.

A team member rushes in to your office and say, “The Acme project is way behind.” Your first inclination may be to step in and go into command and control mode – don’t. Instead, ask your team member a series of questions to help them think the situation through and find their own solution.

“What do you think is really going on here?”

“What’s really at stake here?”

“How do you think you need to handle this? Why?”

At this point 80-90 percent of the time you’ve coached them to find their own right answer. Not only does this help them develop as a businessperson and contributor, but also again, you’re role modeling this leadership pattern for your team.

7. Celebrate progress.

Everyone wants to be part of a winning team. We all feel fulfilled when we are making meaningful progress towards things that matter.

So why is it that so many business leaders gloss over victories and instead focus with their team on all the work that is left to do and all the improvements that are left to be done?

Don’t mix your acknowledgement with suggestions or questions about next steps. Instead, celebrate the victory and let it sit for a moment. Then and only then move on to what has to happen next.

To practice start your next staff meeting by going around the room and everyone sharing one team victory they’ve observed over the past 30 days. Celebrating victories just means to pause to see the progress that you’ve made.

So there you have 7 concrete leadership habits that will help you inspire your team to be better and build a culture where great work gets done.

Business David is a Wall Street Journal and Business Week bestselling author of 11 business and financial books. A syndicated columnist for Inc.com and HuffingtonPost.com, David’s articles have appeared in over 6,500 publications. As the founder and CEO of Maui Mastermind®, David has worked with 100,000+ business coaching clients and community members to buy, build, and sell over $5 billion of businesses.