A Blog by John Bossong

Why Habits Are Crucial To Leadership Success

What kind of habits do you have? Do your habits inhibit you from leading well or do they enable your leadership success? We all have habits. Some great, some good and others we’d like to lose.

Thus the expression, “drop it like a bad habit”.

Habits are unique.  They don’t play favorites. It’s like practicing the wrong thing over and over again.  All you do is get better at doing the wrong thing. However, practicing great things over and over again does the opposite. You get better at the right things.

So, the leadership habits you develop early on can dictate your leadership success in the future.  You can do the right things great or the wrong things great. The key lies in doing the right things over and over and over and over. Make them a habit.

Habits are powerful factors in our lives. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily express our character and produce our effectiveness… or ineffectiveness – Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.




3 Reasons To Develop Positive Habits


#1 - Positive habits set you up for success.  They enable you to sustain excellence and provide a foundation for future growth.

A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit – Latin Proverb

#2 - Once you develop a positive habit, it becomes automatic. It takes the thinking part out of the equation. It becomes part of who you are.

I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time – Charles Dickens

#3 - Positive habits help you achieve (develop) what you want while negative habits hold you back. Negative habits inhibit your growth and development.

Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of – Proverb

Your habits are the most basic parts of your life. How you start your day. How you plan. Organize. Lead.  The actions you practice consistently are your habits. The question is, are you practicing the right or wrong things?

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit – Aristotle

Get In The Habit OF


  • OF exercising and eating right.
  • OF reading more and watching TV less.
  • OF telling one person a day how much you appreciate them and their work (maybe they don’t know)?
  • OF telling your family how much they mean to you.
  • OF serving others without a monetary goal.
  • OF learning one new skill a year (it doesn’t have to be related to your profession), it just needs to make you better than you were last year.
  • OF focusing on the process rather than the results (scoreboard watching).
  • OF leading rather than managing.

Have a great week, there’s power in the habit OF!



  1. I am pleased to say that looking at the list of Get in the Habit OF I am adhering to most of them. At this moment in time I am in the process of altering my mindset and consequently my life.

  2. Thanks John for the post about habits – I think the habit of leading rather than managing strikes a chord with me, which I think is definitely related to the habit of focusing on process rather than results.

    Yesterday, we posted 7 Habits of Highly Effective Hiring Managers, which focuses on process, in this case the hiring process: http://hirezoom.com/7-habits-of-highly-effective-hiring-managers/ I know I’m guilty of letting the stress and constraints related to my job lead me into bad habits that brush off process, especially when trying to fill a seat/desk. However, we can flip things around and view stress and constraints as process sharpening devices, which is in itself a habit that I’ll be working on!

  3. James Klassen says:

    Habits to create success; When we break down our lives to 5 areas, I believe we can gain success with intentionality and execution. Spirituality, Physical, Mental, Social and Emotional. We cant always concentrate on all 5 areas but concentrate on several at a time. If we are preparing for a triathelon, we would be concentrating on the physical, mental and social. Before the triathelon day we would begin planning for the social or emotional aspect of our life. Eventually as all areas of our life rise due to constaint intentional doing, our life as a whole becomes better (joyful) . A great book to read- 7 Habits of Highly effective people and Emotional Healthy Spirituality. Good luck and God bless!!

    • James,

      Thanks for your comments and thoughts. All are great and really insightful. Your book recommendation is awesome, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the all time greats in personal and professional development. Thanks again for your thoughts, I appreciate your time and consideration.

      Take care,

  4. As always, a thoughtful article. Easy to read, difficult to apply. I love your list of “get in the habit of” as a guide. Not sure I understand the focus on the process versus the results unless you mean improve the process and the results will take care of themselves. Good read!

    • Skip,

      You are right, difficult to apply. You are correct on the process. More of a sports analogy. I always hear Alabama’s Coach, Nick Saban talking about the “process”, following the process and not worrying about the score. That’s also difficult to do but I think it’s a good guide to follow. The results don’t always turn out the way we want, but hopefully if you consistently follow a process (habits) the results will happen, or, at least you give yourself a better chance for success.

      Great to hear from you. I hope your new job is going well. I know you’ll lead the way to success for them.

      Take care,

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