It’s the New Year, and that means one thing: We’re in resolution-making mode — about fitness, relationships, and of course, how to improve our career. Travis Bradberry, Ph.D., recently shared some tips with Quartz at Work on 12 daily habits that exceptional leaders share.
“Great leadership is indeed a difficult thing to pin down and understand,” writes Bradberry, coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and cofounder of TalentSmart, which provides emotional intelligence tests and training for Fortune 500 companies. “You know a great leader when you’re working for one, but even they can have a hard time explaining the specifics of what they do that makes their leadership so effective.”
Here are a few of the habits Bradley outlined that he feels transform good leaders into great ones:
- Adherence to the Golden Rule +1: Bradberry argues that the traditional Golden Rule — treat others the way you’d want to be treated — assumes that everyone is alike. “It ignores that people are motivated by vastly different things. One person loves public recognition, while another loathes being the center of attention,” Bradberry writes. Great leaders, he says, take the Golden Rule to a new level by understanding the needs of different employees and treating them how they would like to be treated.
- Self-Awareness: “In most cases, leaders — like everyone else — view themselves in a more favorable light than other people do,” Bradberry writes. While everyone lacks self-awareness from time to time, he stresses the importance of having a solid grasp on one’s leadership style, as well as their own strengths and weaknesses. Effective leaders “know where they shine and where they’re weak,” Bradberry writes, “and they have effective strategies for leaning into their strengths and compensating for their weaknesses.”
- Humility: Great leaders stay humble no matter how successful they become, he writes. “As such, they don’t hesitate to jump in and do the dirty work when needed, and they won’t ask their followers to do anything they wouldn’t be willing to do themselves.”
- Infectiousness: Having a clear vision for the future of the organization you lead is great, but it’s not enough. “You have to make that vision come alive so that your followers can see it just as clearly as you do,” Bradberry writes. “Great leaders do that by telling stories and painting verbal pictures so that everyone can understand not just where they’re going, but what it will look and feel like when they get there.”