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3 habits to drop and lead in new ways

If there was any habit you could drop like a hot potato, what would it be and what new habit would you create instead? We all have habits we’ve developed over time that simply don’t serve us, yet we hold onto them because they’re a part of what we do day in, day out like clockwork.

The same is true for leadership. The leaders who hold on too tightly to leadership styles carry their bad habits like a badge of honor (because they think it works for them) and haven’t evolved or expanded to new ways.

Do these sayings sound familiar to you?

“First one in, last one out…”

“It’s the way it’s always been done”

“No pressure, no diamonds”

These sayings have all had their day in a corporate environment and have a top-down kind of tone to them.

I’d much rather hear:

“Together is better”

“Investing in being my best as a leader helps me empower and invest in others to be theirs”

“People over profits”

The way we live and work has been changing and we’ve experienced these changes in the past 2 years alone. Employee and employer dynamics have shifted, people’s priorities have changed in their job search and more people are bringing their talents and gifts to the entrepreneurial world. 

Old ways of leading and bad habits that limit your leadership effectiveness don’t fit where we’re headed. Are you willing to let go of what’s no longer working for you and embrace new ways of leading? Fair warning, it comes with some self-excavation and work from the inside out. 

That’s the kind of work I focus on in my coaching. Sorry, no problem solving from the surface. We get underneath the hood and get to the root of what’s standing in your way. Then we can look at creating some new ways of leading.

Here are a few habits you need to drop to lead in new ways: 

Hard skills trump soft skills

The truth is all skills hold importance, but like anything, when your focus is too heavily on hard skills and drive what you perceive to be the only skills that matter or get results, you’re missing out on leadership skills vital to your success.

The future of work will increasingly look for leaders who are well-rounded in their skills and are crucial to leading others. We know how important empathy and self-awareness are and other skills include: 

  • Compassion
  • Sensitivity
  • Intentionality
  • Creativity
  • Passion
  • Emotional regulation

To name a few. There are so many soft skills we don’t talk about often enough and fail to recognize their importance, let alone their impact when leading others.

If you haven’t developed these or feel like they don’t hold much value, you’re missing out. They absolutely require nurturing, time and development and we need more of them in our leaders. Start looking at which ones need attention from both your eyes and heart.

Old stories offer old solutions

What story are you telling yourself that keeps you from telling a new one? An old story that has you believing you need to lead a certain way, do things the same as former leaders have or because someone told you to. 

Complex challenges and even some of the more basic ones require your unique way of approaching them. Using creative solutions and critical thinking. Old stories that don’t offer a new solution are limiting and don’t inspire others to follow let alone hear you.

Be willing to drop the old stories and stop telling them.

Think of it as the uncle at Thanksgiving who you love to pieces, because well, he’s your uncle, but the stories he shares are like watching paint dry. There’s nothing new at the end. You’ve heard it all before. Be willing to tell a new one.

Or better yet, be willing to create a new one. You’re not supposed to have all the answers, you’re supposed to be willing to lead and go first. One step at a time.

Hurry up… time is of the essence!

The tight deadlines, the contradiction in organizational messages that say to employees, “We recognize how hard all of you have been working and want to give you an additional 3 days off this holiday season. Project and all related work deadlines don’t change.”

You say you want to support wellbeing, yet work deadlines don’t change to reflect that?

It doesn’t make sense. 

According to an IBM study of 3, 000 CEOs from around the world, 56% of CEOs emphasize the need to aggressively pursue operational agility and flexibility in the future of work.

In most cases, we’ve seen a do whatever it takes attitude to be agile at the expense of people’s health. Workplaces that are overworked, understaffed and under-resourced do not make for healthy operational agile workforces or are flexible. 

The hustle work cultures that exhaust people create an imbalance in priorities and don’t work. Over the years, the impact it has on all of our health has gotten worse and seems counterintuitive to the chase of results.

Using more flexibility in your leadership approach isn’t just better, it’s wise.

Not all things are worth hurrying for.

Being agile and flexible needs to be done with an approach that is balanced with how people work and most importantly, what people need to sustain great work.

Embrace a way of working that thrives off a healthy pace, empowers people to get work done in the best way that works for them while keeping everyone’s health in tack.

Are you willing to embrace new ways of leading?

Change is life and life is change. Tomorrow is the future and we’re preparing for that by doing our best today. If we’re really being honest with ourselves, we know the habits and patterns that stand in our way from creating new ways of leading.

As they say, when you know better, do better.

What are you willing to face and say, this doesn’t work anymore?

What are you willing to face and say, this doesn’t serve me anymore and I’m open to exploring new ways.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

What habits stand in your way of embracing new ways of leading? If there was a habit you could let go of, what would it be and what new one would you create?

With so much appreciation,


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Lisa De Nicola

Lisa De Nicola is an Intuitive Leadership Coach and a Corporate Magic Maker (a Trusted Advisor who believes in Magic) dedicated to helping businesses bring out the essence of their biggest resource - their people. She coaches bold leaders to help them become the Director of their life so they can do business and life on their terms. With 15 + years of corporate experience working in the world of talent for multi-national, global organizations, Lisa shares her knowledge, spiritual tools, practices and business insights to leaders looking to transform the way they lead from the inside out.

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