The Top Habits of Successful Leaders

David S. Chang  |

Regardless of one’s level of experience, successful leaders know there is always room for additional improvement. It often requires having to break yourself of old habit. What may have worked in the past doesn’t necessarily mean it will work in the future. This is why successful leaders prioritize self-awareness and constantly recommitting to your purpose. This is a feat that is never easy to achieve.

Successful leaders practice successful habits on a daily basis — no matter how difficult it may be to remain on track. The key is to understand that it isn’t about changing overnight. Small and positive habits add up over time and eventually separate those who are successful from the rest. Here are the top habits of successful leaders and entrepreneurs.

1. Successful Leaders Establish Positive Relationships

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a dedicated group of mentors, team members, and other professionals to build a thriving organization. This is where strong social and relational skills come in handy. Successful leaders understand they can’t do everything themselves. They not only establish positive relationships with people in their organization, but with individuals outside as well.

Networking has always been and will continue to be a foundational element of business. Successful leaders understand and prioritize relationships. The adage “who you know is more than what you know” has some truth to it. You can always gain knowledge, but it is useless if no one is there to support you.

2. Successful Leaders Know How to Plan

When it comes to starting and leading a business, understanding what to focus on and what not to focus on can make or break any venture. Successful leaders know that “if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” Formulating an effectiviness plan opens up discussion on which parts of their organization may need additional support, what measures need to be done in order to improve transactions, and whether certain decisions will yield profits in the long-run.

Many jeopardize success by ignoring the planning aspect. Successful leaders take into consideration various factors and possibilities to find the best solutions to problems in the most efficient and effective way possible. Planning helps you take a step back to ensure you are focused on the right priorities and what needs to be done to be successful without rushing in.

3. Successful Leaders Strive to Gain More Knowledge

Our society is always being reshaped and redefined by ever-changing influences like technology. As a result it should come as no surprise that there is always new information to learn and apply. Often, the most successful innovations were the amalgamation of other ideas put together.

Although leaders may not seem as though they have the time to read frequently, many make the time to do just that. Whether they are traveling, eating lunch, or unwinding at the end of the day, successful leaders find time to read and learn. They seize opportunities to listen to podcasts, audiobooks, or thought leaders’ interviews in their spare time.

4. Successful Leaders Know to Leave Work at Work

It may be tempting to bring home that small project or take a brief conference call on one’s personal phone, but successful leaders know when it is time to rest and recuperate. They know that sacrificing their own time will not launch them ahead in their career. Leaders understand and acknowledge the importance of time off. It allows them to fully recharge before returning to the office and conquering the next day’s set of obstacles. It is about keeping the axe sharp and not being burned out.

Since leaders understand the physical and mental consequences of leaving personal needs unfulfilled, they also communicate the same values with their employees. This, in turn, can result in heightened trust within the company, as well as overall employee wellness.

Successful leaders know relationships with others, committing to a plan, continuing to learn, and taking the time to rest is key to developing their leadership skills. Overtime these improvements make a huge difference between those that are successful leaders and those that are not. These habits are the difference between mediocrity and greatness.

David S. Chang is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, wealth manager, and author of The Art of Thinking SMART. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and combat veteran. He is an East-West Graduate Degree Fellow and has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:


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