In the nearly 25 years since Stephen Covey first published his landmark book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Leaders, more than 10 million people have sought after the habits of successful leaders. All these years later, Covey’s book still raises a fascinating question: What habits do great leaders have in common? Covey, of course, proposes seven key habits and, while they are indeed exceptional, they are only the start of a list of leadership habits.
What would you add to a list of essential habits of enduring leaders?
The first habit to come to my mind is the habit of thinking. Before you dismiss this as a bit naive, allow me to explain. I argue that first and foremost leaders are charged with being strategic thinkers.
As a leader you are paid not only to perform essential duties, but even more you are paid to think deeply about critical matters such as strategy, shaping the culture, building teams, political diplomacy, conflict utilization, and a host of other cerebral challenges. No one should ever joke that you are unproductive when they walk into your office and find you “just thinking.” If they do, tell them firmly, “I am paid to think, not just do.”
Thinking must become a regularly practiced habit for leaders because the demand to produce, to get the pile of work off your desk, is so persistent and so overwhelming that thinking will always get short shrift. Enforcing the habit of productively thinking, even amidst the incessant demands of your leadership role, is critical to success.
I am interested in learning your suggestions for other mission critical leadership habits. Perhaps as you exercise your thinking habit a few will come to your mind. Hit ‘Comment’ below and let’s have a conversation of thinkers about your ideas.