No business leader you know jumped into leadership because it was certain or easy.
However, the business leaders around us or those we work with seem to effortlessly manage a team, make decisions, and own their roles.
They overcome daily stressors, guide meetings with expert clarity, and maintain a socially magnetic presence.
It may have had you wondering: Are successful business leaders born this way?
The short answer – no.
There’s no great secret that leaders are born knowing that you don’t already have available to you. However, there are distinct skills that these business leaders practice and hone to the point of mastery.
These skills are built from small beginnings, not present at birth. The development of these skills is what makes these individuals into managers, executives, and team leaders that excel.
Practice and mastery of skills is a critical piece in the Project OTY framework. We groom the next generation of confident, professional leaders through a unique process you can learn more about here.
Overall these distinct skills go back to supporting the core point of “leadership”. They make these the people that you know them to be in the workplace and life.
What skills make a leader?
As a Management 101 refresh, what is the definition of leadership?
With the different ways that we think of leaders, this mental image may bring up many people. Frontline workers, firefighters, parents working night shifts, executives leading Fortune 500 companies.
The simple, yet deep definition:
Leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common vision.
This definition is helpful to get clear on what business leaders do from a high level, but HOW do they do this?
Leadership is guiding those of all different walks of life to bring them together, inspire and aim everyone’s focus toward a target.
As a result, we have seven habits for real-world business leaders.
The points shared below aren’t aimed to cross swords with Stephen Covey’s approach on 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In fact, we’ll link his habits for you to refresh on his expert perspective.
We spin our habits based on insights gathered from connecting with over 160,000 business leaders and leading over 20,000 employees. in the employment and online marketing fields.
The seven habits we share are aimed to build and strengthen business leaders to be confident humans in their approach in an evolving world.
Future-proof advice with no frills.
What Are The Seven Traits of Future Proof Leaders?
Business leaders make it a habit to do all of the following on a routine basis.
1. Continually seek to gather information.
Business leaders are never in a place where they are not processing new information. They constantly learn. Even when not actively working through training material, they are learning daily from their failures and missteps.
Business professionals in leadership roles start each day with a mindset that is open to potential lessons to learn.
They understand learning doesn’t end at the time of graduation. Learning is an ongoing journey throughout life.
2. Organize information to translate into action in the future.
Learning new information doesn’t serve leaders when they don’t put it into use.
Leaders intimately understand they need to put what they learn into action. Courses, training, and life lessons are transformed into future decisions and achievements.
They put new information to work for their future vision, both personally and for a company or team vision.
They organize information quickly in order to understand where they still have gaps of knowledge to fill. From there, they can easily identify what they need to learn to accomplish their set vision.
Effective business leaders have vision statements in place. Do you have strong visions set to build your future? If not, we have the Ultimate Guide for how to set visions to give stronger purpose to your learning and actions. (Link to Vision blog)
3. Define and prioritize the next steps.
Leaders know the next step in advance. They always have steps set to reach their big life visions.
A business leader’s set goals are not achieved unless they are broken down into realistic, smaller steps.
These steps also have assigned priority, so leaders will purposefully focus their time and energy while enjoying the journey.
This list of next steps may grow or require edits, but a successful leader approaches with patience and aims for consistency to succeed. (Link to consistency blog).
Related: How to Improve Consistency in the Workplace
4. Enroll others in their vision.
Leaders understand to communicate with others in the way they want to be communicated.
In the same way, they communicate with emotional intelligence, they lead others in a way where everyone is aligned and on the same page.
To make this happen, leaders communicate in specific ways that remove feelings of fear from those that they lead.
5. Communicate their vision with clarity.
Employees and team members can’t follow an unclear path or vision.
Business leaders know how to communicate to allow others to understand and be inspired to participate.
They do this through listening, sharing, planning, and motivating with a potent mixture of words and action.
6. Commit to being consistent.
Success comes with consistent action. Those in charge work at what they do every day to achieve mastery.
Their visions would not be a reality without continued focus and repeated practice.
When roadblocks occur, they aim to dig deeper into the trenches and focus on clearing a path to success.
Related: Tips to Achieve Better Consistency In Your Team
7. Reinvent to evolve.
As recent years have taught us, the landscape of the world has a tendency to change. The ability to adapt is a core lesson that most individuals have either consciously or unconsciously learned.
Despite changing landscapes, successful heads of companies and teams know to be flexible and be prepared to adapt in the face of the unknown.
Ongoing learning and planning are necessary. Strategies and plans become “working documents” that are subject to change in response to learned lessons.
People who are effectively in charge are open to the events that are least expected. They recognize these moments as the critical turning point for a needed transformational journey to turn “good” into “great”.
Adapting allows for evolution.