The habits that hold us back are the ones that must be conquered.
Warren Buffett has no shortage of advice when it comes to improving your leadership. One of his most infamous tips is being able to break your bad habits. It’s whatever deep down you know will either move you forward or hold you back. We all have them.
Buffett warned graduating students at the University of Florida to practice good habits as soon as possible before forming bad ones.
“I see people with these self-destructive behavior patterns. They really are entrapped by them. You can get rid of it a lot easier at your age than at my age, because most behaviors are habitual. The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”
Sure, it’s much easier to shake off bad habits in your twenties than in your fifties. But whatever your age, getting rid of your most self-destructive habits is crucial or success.
The first step is admitting that it exists and is in the way of achieving your goals. Once your bad habit is in full view and you are aware of it, the next step is to be fully committed to conquering it with new habits.
3 Most Common Bad Habits
You can start with what I’ve seen as three of the most common bad habits. Even yours truly has had to acknowledge that one of these was getting in the way of my becoming a better leader and coach for my clients (can you guess which?). Perhaps you’ll agree with me that taking control of these potentially self-destructive habits will greatly increase your chances for success:
1. Poor listening skills.
Before you assume you’re fit to lead, you have to ask yourself, Am I a good listener? Because if you’re going to lead, you need to be.
Recent research published in Harvard Business Review supports evidence that leaders who listen well “are perceived as people leaders, generate more trust, instill higher job satisfaction, and increase their team’s creativity.”
The first step to becoming a better listener is to eliminate the noise — from your distracted mind and your physical and digital environment.
In 2016, I conducted an independent workplace survey and received hundreds of responses to the question: “What is the one mistake leaders make more frequently than others?”