To build and guide a company or organization takes a lot of good habits, and successful leaders soon learn and adopt practices that help them stay on top of to-do lists, keep their teams engaged, plot smart goals, and balance their personal and work lives. But being a successful leader isn’t just about having good habits—it’s about avoiding bad ones.
It’s all too easy for a leader to unknowingly slip into bad habits that can hinder success. Some of these habits may deliver short-term solutions, but keeping them up can decrease efficiency, disrupt good working relationships, and even create long-term problems. Below, 16 members of Fast Company Executive Board share seemingly harmless habits that every entrepreneur should recognize and eliminate to ensure continued progress and success.
1. THINKING ALOUD
Avoid thinking aloud in front of your team rather than taking the time to gather your thoughts. While it may feel like you’re inviting them into your decision-making process, doing so outside of brainstorms or time dedicated to idea generation may accidentally diminish your team by leaving them overwhelmed or working to pursue your many ideas without any sense of priority or where to begin. – Daria Burke, JustFab
2. FOLLOWING THE CROWD
Following “what everyone else does” or a playbook you have used previously is assuredly a recipe for a misstep. While it’s important to leverage benchmarks and gain an understanding of other approaches, there’s no playbook for the present business you are in. There are similarities, but the playbook for what, when, and how to execute today needs to be created in real time, within your organization. – Nick Schneider, Arctic Wolf
3. ALWAYS BEING AVAILABLE
Being available 24/7 seems like a great way to serve your team and clients, but it is not sustainable if you want to cultivate the focus needed to do deep work. If you keep all your notifications on, you are likely in a state of constant reactiveness. Successful leadership requires focus, clarity, and perspective. You need to foster the ability to respond strategically to situations as opposed to reacting. – Liza Streiff, Knopman Marks Financial Training
4. NOT LISTENING TO YOUR GUT
Don’t blindly take advice from the experts without listening to your gut. It’s easy to default to others who have strong pedigrees, experience, and data to back them up. But question their input if it goes against what your gut says. Dig into it further. There have been times when I’ve followed my gut and did things that did not make sense on paper, and they’ve ended up being a differentiator for us. – Jason VandeBoom, ActiveCampaign
5. FAILING TO DELEGATE
One of the most detrimental habits is not delegating tasks because you assume that you …….