Become a Better Leader By Doing These 5 Things Each Day
by Alina Berdichevsky
Posted: November 23, 2015
Leaders in our midst may possess an enviable star quality, but it is easy to under-estimate the focus and dedication it takes to cultivate one’s most high performing self and be a source of clarity and inspiration for others.
Forbes magazine lists qualities like honesty, a good sense of humour, confidence and creativity as the commonalities underpinning what makes someone a better leader than the rest.
So how can you be a better leader too? Try these 5 fool-proof steps.
1. Rise Early
Almost all successful executives and leaders get up early - and many more claim to function on very little sleep. General Motors CEO Dan Akerson famously said that he will rarely sleep past 4:30 or 5am on a regular day. Use that quiet time before everyone else gets up to plan your day, write down good ideas and set some goals.
Even the busiest leaders in the world get better by devoting a part of their day to exercise. Successful people know that exercise is vital to mentally and physically pushing themselves further, while studies confirm that working out can make you healthier, happier, and better able to sleep as well as boosting your memory, concentration, and mental sharpness. So is it any wonder some of the best leaders of our time make it a habit to exercise? President Obama sweats it out 45 minutes a day, six days a week, while Richard Branson also credits his creativity to working out.
Let’s be honest: leadership roles are usually stressful, as it’s on one’s shoulders to weather plentiful responsibility and change. Therefore it’s no surprise that busy leaders also turn to meditation to calm the mind, stimulate creativity and replenish energy. For instance, Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff started to meditate to ease his stresses of his previous role at Oracle, while Oprah Winfrey has gone on record to confirm meditation helps her remain spiritually grounded.
4. Eat breakfast
The morning is an important time to gather your energy for a busy day and eating breakfast is a vital part of that routine. A protein smoothie, complex grains and healthy fats all make up the diet of the world’s greatest thinkers. If you want to be a better leader, focus on foods that allow a slow release of energy and fuel the mind. For instance, make do with a hearty morning meal of eggs, meat and toast like Winston Churchill or un-toasted granola with fruit and yogurt like Richard Branson. If a big breakfast isn't your thing, take comfort in the fact that Margaret Thatcher ruled the world on only a coffee and grapefruit before midday. Just eat something!
5. Read the right stuff
Access to premium information is vital to stimulating any big leader’s mind - and making better decisions. Be mindful with your reading materials and be sure they enhance your career, knowledge of your industry and overall world view. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett starts his days with an assortment of national and local news. In fact, he spends 80% of his day reading! Barack Obama reads the national papers, a blog or two, and some magazines while Bill Gates reads the national papers and gets a daily news digest.
As you can see, good leadership ability is developed through a mix of self care, stimulation and reducing stress. Exercise, planning and good nutrition will allow you to think with clarity and stay on top of your goals and that is how you become an example for others.