[July 7, 2018] Given that leadership is difficult, it makes plenty of good sense to get rid of any bad leader habits that may be interfering with our lives. Many leaders are capable of recognizing a bad habit and then taking steps to eliminate it. Others, however, cannot see a bad habit for what it is.
What does it take to get rid of bad leader habits? The very first and most important step is being able to “see” that something you are doing is a problem and that it must be stopped; else it will continue to pull the leader off course. For our purposes here, I will assume that the bad habit is known.
Removing a bad habit can be viewed as a way to improve one’s ability to influence others. Once a bad habit is stopped, things will go much better.
Any potentially successful effort begins with a plan of action. That plan should draw upon the experiences of others who have gone before us; we can learn from them and what the pitfalls are when trying to remove any unwanted habit.
For example, most leaders suggest that we focus on one habit at a time. It makes their efforts simpler and allows us to concentrate our resources in one place and at a narrow range of time.
Here are some suggested ways to get rid of bad leader habits:
- Create a public plan and stick with it until it becomes unworkable.
- Begin with a specific date.
- Set a specific goal in mind.
- Find the precursors to the habit and learn them as predictors.
- Identify the “cause” of the bad habit.
- Create reminders that help keep you on track.
- Closely record and track all progress.
- Find a coach that will tell you the truth.
- Ignore people who tell you it cannot be done.
- Understand it will not be easy, quick, or cheap.
- Slip-ups will occur; admit them, learn from them, and move on.
- Keep your head in the game.
I especially like the last one. If you don’t stay focused, you will never get better as a leader.
Note [Updated]: Here is a great website “Faster to Master” that provides a complete guide on habits that is of great interest. It can be found here: https://fastertomaster.com/planner/start/habit-tracker/. Reader’s Digest also has a good article on the same subject titled, “10 Habits You Didn’t Realize Are Actually Dangerous for Your Health.” This is a good example of “how” to tackle those pesky bad habits. The technique is what we should be looking at. https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/10-bad-habits-and-the-best-ways-to-quit-them/