Someone who has become a team leader at their company is likely passionate and dedicated. Their job isn’t only a source of income. They take ownership of their work, and associate it with their identity.
You might be this type of person. While work/life balance is important, if you’re a team leader, odds are good you want to be the best leader possible. Doing so doesn’t simply involve managing your team at work. Effective leaders don’t draw a particularly strong line between what they do and who they are. They know that their overall identities contribute to their success.
It is said that a person’s identity is the sum of their habits. What we do regularly and consistently defines us. Thus, if you want to be a strong team leader, you should strive to develop the right habits, both at work and outside of it.
The following habits are ones you may wish to develop. Although they by no means represent all the habits you might want to cultivate, they are examples of habits many effective leaders commonly adopt.
Effective leaders read widely.
Leaders need to be intelligent people. They need to thoroughly understand their industries in order to make strategic decisions. They benefit from reading about human emotions and psychology to motivate their employees. They must be familiar with a range of business strategies to manage creatively and confidently.
That’s why so many leaders use their free time to read. Even when they aren’t reading material that’s immediately applicable to their work, reading helps them stay mentally sharp.
Keep in mind that reading doesn’t need to consist merely of setting aside time to dive into an interesting book. You should find opportunities to do so, but as a busy team leader, your free time might be limited.
Take advantage of other reading opportunities you may not have considered, such as listening to audiobooks during your commute. You might also try to read more often during your breaks at work. Stepping aside for a few minutes to enrich your mind could be more valuable than trying to consistently focus on your responsibilities.
Effective leaders go out of their way to communicate with many people.
You probably communicate with many different people every day of your life. On a given day, you might communicate with employees, with your supervisor, with clients, with a significant other, with a customer service representative, with a relative or friend, and with the person taking your morning coffee order.
Make a point of striving to communicate with as many different types of people as possible. Notice how the nature of your communication style varies depending on who you’re talking to. You don’t speak to your significant other as formally as you do your boss.
However, emphasizing clear communication (which includes active listening) at all times will help you develop your communication skills in general. These skills will transfer to your work.
Effective leaders prioritize their health.
The life of a team leader is a busy one. You may understandably feel you have so many responsibilities that you neglect your health. You may sleep less. Perhaps you skip meals, or rely on fast food in order to save time. Maybe you skip going to the gym.
Don’t let this happen. Strong leaders need strong minds. Unfortunately, if you don’t treat your body well, your mental and emotional strength will be negatively affected.
It’s also worth noting that taking care of your health can be genuinely enjoyable. For instance, if high levels of stress are affecting your health, you could address the problem by taking a vacation or scheduling a massage. It’s easy to justify treating yourself when you appreciate how doing so will help you become a stronger leader.
Effective leaders cultivate optimism.
No team can avoid struggles entirely. Across all industries, challenges are inevitable. Team leaders need to motivate employees when challenges arise. There are many strategies for improving morale. One is to model a sense of optimism for the team. Your employees are less likely to be stressed and pessimistic if they can see that you’re neither stressed nor pessimistic.
That said, your optimism needs to be authentic. That’s why it’s a good idea to cultivate a sense of optimism in all areas of your life. If you can learn to focus on positive outcomes in your personal life, you’ll be able to do so more effectively at work.
Just remember that developing new habits takes time. You shouldn’t expect to naturally develop all these in a month. However, by taking incremental steps, these habits will eventually become genuine components of your overall identity. Your leadership skills will improve as a result.