Looking for a little inspiration after the year that 2020 was? How about some characteristics and habits of great leaders and ways to embody them as we enter 2021? Even if you don’t manage people, you do manage YOU. So why not ditch some of the bad routines and embrace some new behaviors that will make you more productive in the workplace and have a better year.
“To be a good leader, you cannot major in minor things, and you must be less distracted than your competition. To get the few critical things done, you must develop incredible selective ignorance. Otherwise, the trivial will drown you.”
–Tim Ferriss, Bestselling Author, Host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast
Habits to Break
First, let’s look at some habits that we should leave behind in 2020.
Jodie Cook, a social media influencer, recently contributed an article to Forbes on this topic. In the article, Cook offers these habits to break in the New Year:
- Snoozing your alarm – it’s a waste of time. Five minutes a day add up to 22 hours of your year.
- Always being switched on – we hear this quite a bit, right? This “purgatory” is messing up your sleep and your mindset.
- Going on autopilot – familiarity often means your brain switches to autopilot — leaving the house and driving to work. Practice being conscious and present and notice what you had missed.
- Being too available – if you are constantly available, you’ll train others to constantly need you. Set your available hours and be strict with them. Focus on deep work for the rest of the time. Train resourcefulness, not helplessness.
- Living in the future – See #3. If you’re not in the present, it’s difficult to achieve what needs to be done here and now. Dreaming is good but do that in your time off when you aren’t snoozing your alarm or being too available.
Behaviors to Embrace
Entrepreneur magazine offers a great and short slideshow on the 22 qualities that make a great leader. It’s worth looking at for ideas on what characteristics of great leaders you want to study.
Great leaders are known for confidence, focus, trustworthiness, passion, drive, and innovation to name a few. Maybe you’re looking at how you can be more patient, open-minded, positive, and persistent or how to empower others, even if you don’t manage them.
If you want to communicate where others truly listen while also improving collaboration with your colleagues, study how great leaders achieve this.
“You must love what you do. In order to be truly successful at something, you must obsess over it and let it consume you. You lead by example, not because you feel like it’s what you should do, but because it is your way of life.” — Joe Perez, Founder, Tastemade
Bring back some certainty in your life by adopting the behaviors of great leaders and maybe even influence better outcomes for your colleagues, friends, and family.
Take a moment before the end of the year and jot down how you want to start 2021. Maybe it goes a little like this:
Today is January 1st and I will __________________ because I want ____________________.
This doesn’t need to be War and Peace – just intentional. Post it at your desk and in your car. Type it into your screensaver on your laptop, tablet, and cell phone. Add it to your email signature. Update it when you want to be intentional about something else. Be accountable and believe in yourself.
Have a happy and productive 2021!