Learning to lead effectively is one long continuous improvement process. No one comes to this role fully prepared for the rigors, twists, and turns created by people and conditions. It’s a learned process that emphasizes experimentation and adaptation in response to the ample surprises you’ll encounter in your daily efforts. One great way to prepare yourself for success is to approach each workday with a deliberate commitment to striving to be your best leadership self.

10 Ideas to Support Being Your Best Leadership Self Every Day:

1. Journal for Success:

Maintain a leadership journal and start and end each day with the following entries:

  • Start: What are my top priorities today?
  • End: What did I do today that worked and that I need to do more of tomorrow?
  • Review yesterday’s entries as part of your start-up for the new day.

2. Build Challenging Conversations Into Your Morning

It’s human nature to put off things we don’t like to do. Instead of vowing to get to that overdue feedback or coaching conversation “later” lock it into your early a.m. calendar and bring your best self to the session. Focus on creating a dialog and remember to design solutions together.

3. Smile and Engage

Your verbal and non-verbal behaviors wield significant influence over whether your team is creative, collaborative, and excited about their work. You want to keep your team in “discovery” mode and away from fear. If people perceive you are in a good mood, they are apt to mirror you. Make certain they are mirroring the positive, creative, collaborative you.

4. Aim for a Daily Ratio of 3:1 Positive to Constructive Feedback

Deliver earned positive feedback in a 3:1 ratio to constructive or the negative kind. Try it, and see what happens. Keep a tally of your daily totals and keep improving. And remember, effective feedback is always behavioral and tied-to business results. The goal is to strengthen behaviors that support high performance and change or eliminate those that detract from it.

5. Preach Less and Ask More.

Questions are powerful teaching tools. Quit preaching and start asking and listening.

6. Ask for Help

Instead of placing pressure on yourself to solve every problem, tap into the wisdom of your team and ask for ideas and approaches. They want to help.

7. Help Your Boss

Make this a deliberate daily pursuit. Remember, someone must choose you to be successful.

8. Strengthen Your Network

You have three fundamental imperatives according to Linda A. Hill:

  • Manage your team
  • Manage yourself
  • Manage your network

Reach across boundaries to build and strengthen relationships. Help your peers when asked, and strive to connect groups in pursuit of solutions to broader problems.

9. Strengthen Yourself

What did you do yesterday to become a smarter, more effective leader and manager? Some of us go for years sprinting through our days but not pushing ourselves to grow.

  • Read one article
  • Read a chapter in a book
  • Listen to a relevant podcast
  • Talk with a mentor
  • Ask for feedback on your performance
  • Watch a Ted Talk
  • Attend an internally sponsored training event
  • Connect with an expert on a topic you are interested in exploring

The Bottom-Line for Now:

I saved number 10 for last. It may be the most important of all. 10. Remember to Enjoy Every Day.  We’re all given an unknown, finite number of days. Enjoy each one as it comes, headaches and stressors and calamities and all. And then get up and do it again. Follow this positive cycle and strive to be your best leadership self daily, and you might just crack the code on succeeding in this difficult role.

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