When a habit shows success, it can be difficult to adopt different practices, even when success is limited or comes at a cost. This is a common occurrence in business when leaders become so dedicated to doing something the way it has always been done that they are unintentionally sabotaging their future success.
Knowing where to start when making changes isn’t easy, but one of the first steps leaders can take is simply committing to the act of making changes for the better. Below, 10 Newsweek Expert Forum members share further advice on what leaders should do to address and break their own bad habits.
1. Identify Which Habit You Want to Break
Breaking bad habits is not an easy task. Leaders should first identify which habits they wish to break and then identify healthy habits to adopt instead. The leader should find a confidant with whom they can share their goal of habit change. The confidant can kindly remind the leader when they are exhibiting the bad habit and support habit swapping. – Donna Marie Cozine, Consult DMC
2. Find the Root Cause
First, identify the root cause. Are you stressed, anxious or bored? Once you know the trigger, you can create strategies and set some realistic goals. You aren’t going to change overnight, but you can make strides every day to show up as the leader (and person) you want to be. – Umang Modi, TIAG, Inc.
3. Share With a Trusted Peer or Professional
When self-reflection just isn’t enough, share your desired change with a trusted peer or therapist. Consulting with someone else who is capable of creating an effective space for you to process and understand your behavioral patterns is key. Regularly scheduled meetings or sessions will also help with accountability and structure. – Leah Marone, Corporate Wellness Consultant
4. Have Your Board Hold You Accountable
A good leader seeks to be led. Having a personal board of advisors helps hold you accountable for those things you don’t know how to do, don’t want to do or that are simply bad habits. Having a trusted personal board of advisors who can be honest with you and hold you accountable will support your growth in all aspects. However, you must first be willing and honest. – Uriel Saenz, THE US LIFESTYLE GROUP LLC
5. Seek Feedback
Feedback is a wonderful tool for improving our performance. Ask your colleagues and direct staff for suggestions, send surveys and have an open-door policy. These strategies provide a safe environment for you to identify bad habits personally and across your organization. It can also create a culture that motivates behavioral change cross-functionally as well. – Jacob Kupietzky, HCT Executive Interim Management & Consulting
6. Hire a Coach to Widen Your Perspective
I believe every professional needs a coach. Unlike sports, tech has not embraced someone who gives you honest feedback on how to improve. Leaders in particular are expected to have all the answers, but they don’t always get it right and they need to keep improving. Leaders must have coaches who can help them see themselves from a different perspective. – Rahul Subramaniam, CloudFix
7. Lean on Your Team
Ask your team for help. Let them know your challenge and the action you are taking. Ask them to support your journey. This approach achieves a few things. First, it creates a culture where people can acknowledge their challenges. Second, it makes it OK to ask for help. Finally, it drives accountability. If I’m accountable to my team, there is a significantly better chance that I’ll achieve it. – Krista Neher, Boot Camp Digital
8. Conduct Regular Internal Reviews
It’s a common practice in medicine for doctors to perform what’s called a morbidity and mortality (M&M) conference. This exercise in critical thinking and dynamic feedback not only holds the doctors accountable, but it also allows them to internalize the lessons. As leaders, it’s important we are constantly looking at our habits, processes and communication to conduct internal and external post-mortems. – Melissa LuVisi, tab32
9. Remember to Reward Yourself
Once a leader has identified their own bad habits that they are ready and willing to address, I would suggest that they reward themselves as they change their behavior. Rewards will cement and encourage the new habits and be a meaningful symbol that they are making progress toward their goals. – Lisa Lundy, Lisa A Lundy
10. Lead by Example
I believe leading by example can help break your own bad habits. Being self-aware and creating an environment where employees know you welcome feedback and are not afraid to speak up is important. There is always more you can do to break bad habits, but that starts with the working dynamic between you and your employees. It is important to listen and reflect so you can improve and work on yourself. – Paul Miller, Miller & Company LLP