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Leadership Thought #290 – 15 Easy Things You Can Do to Improve as a Leader

January 25, 2012

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Personal growth and development as a leader doesn’t always involve heavy lifting or demanding work.  Here are fifteen easy things you can do right away to improve your performance and results:

  1. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than is typical and stick to a regular bedtime; sleep matters
  2. Make a conscious effort to eat healthier and always have a nutritious breakfast; the fuel you put in your body makes an enormous difference
  3. Exercise 20-30 minutes per day including stretching; healthier body = healthier mind
  4. Smile more often and greet people with enthusiasm; people want to feel liked and are attracted to positive energy
  5. Say ‘please” and ‘thank you;” courtesy is always better than the alternative
  6. Ask more questions and give fewer lectures; you don’t have all the answers and people want to feel listened to
  7. When in doubt delegate; trust that other people can get the job done and if they stumble treat it as a learning experience
  8. Only check your email 3x per day at set times during the day and leave a message letting people know this; don’t become an email junkie
  9. Clearly define success and manage to 5-7 Key Performance Indicators; stay focused on the metrics that matter most
  10. Use a “to-do” list to manage your time every day; strive to always focus on your top 5 priority action items
  11. Schedule daily blocks of undisturbed thinking time and if necessary, do this out of the office; don’t get bogged down in hyper-activity
  12. Meet or have a phone conversation with at least one client per week; don’t get too distant from your customers
  13. Have weekly 1-1 meetings with your direct reports and meet with your management team bi-weekly; keep everyone on the same page and coach them accordingly
  14. Read for personal growth or professional development at least 15-20 minutes per day; keep your brain sharp
  15. Keep a professional diary and journal for 5-10 minutes each night; regularly debrief on your day and how it went


This list may seem overwhelming, but it is not.  Start with a few items and then add others as you make progress. I guarantee you that the more of these items you embrace, the better your results as a leader will become.

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