How to Create Positive Leadership Habits

The habits you cultivate in life can either help or hinder your career. If you are invested in becoming a grounded, self-aware leader, you will know you need to take conscious deliberate actions to change any negative habits that can derail your work effectiveness and negatively impact the people around you.

Some leaders might believe that they are too old or too entrenched within their roles to truly change or adjust their habits. If this applies to you, I invite you to consider changing your thinking. Change is possible at any age or at any level of leadership.

If you recognize that you could benefit from changing your habits, what you need to know is that people change habits all the time, it just takes practice, discipline, mindfulness, and the belief that it is possible. In essence, changing habits is about changing your mindset.

The idea that leaders or anyone in general cannot change is a myth, so let’s take a look at ways you can ease into making positive shifts in your overall performance.

3 Leadership Habit-Changing Concepts

#1 – Don’t Worry About Making Mistakes When Changing Habits

Have you heard that it takes 21 consecutive days to form or change a habit? While this may or may not be true, depending on the individual, there is a belief that one must never make a mistake or skip a day when attempting to change a habit or form a new one and this is a total myth.

The fact is that different people respond differently to habit-change methods. Maybe 21 days of disciplined effort works for some people, but that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. Furthermore, you can make mistakes or skip a day without losing the benefits of the work you’ve put in.

Missing a day occasionally has little to no impact on the larger goal of changing a habit. Repetition and discipline are important, and if you stay focused, you will get there, even if you have a few setbacks along the way.

#2 – Rewarding Yourself for Changing Habits

One of the best ways to learn new behaviors is to associate rewards with actions that positively move you toward your goals. But if you want to truly change your habits for good, it’s a little more complicated than that. 

To get rid of a habit that is not serving you, recognize the trigger or triggers that make you engage in that habit. For example, you may want to be more physically active, but if you talk yourself out of getting a walk every day, and instead, indulge in a Netflix series, it’s important to note what feelings and actions you’re engaging in. Why are you telling yourself TV is more important that getting some fresh air and moving your body? In this case, if you decide on making the walk a priority, you could reward yourself afterward with an extra hour of TV time as an example.

Rewards are important, but they only work when you can identify the cues that trigger the initial habitual behavior.

#3 – Don’t March to Other People’s Habits Drum

Attempting to mimic the habits of others is not guaranteed to bring you success. If you want to develop habits that help you become a better leader, you need to identify what works for you. There is no magic formula that works for everyone. There are guidelines that can certainly help, plus there are techniques involving mindfulness and self-awareness that can make the process more manageable. But the real work must be done by you to become the leader you wish to be.

Set your own standards and align your expectations to those standards to set yourself up for success, not failure.

Changing Your Habits is a Personal Journey

As mentioned, the right mindset is cruicial for changing habits - and doing so is an intensely personal journey. You might already have the tools you need, but those tools may also need to be developed as you navigate through your habit-change journey. Remember that taking baby steps may be necessary at first as you try on your new habit.

More Help for Changing Habits 

As you start tackling changing some of your habits, you may want an outside perspective to help guide you. I am here to help, and happy to have a conversation about where you are and where you want to go.

Feel free to contact me via phone at 1-855-871-3374 or via email at

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