Oh hello! The DNA of Leadership, (see below) was an article I wrote for Alpha Lambda Delta’s magazine, “The Flame” – ALD is a national honor society for first year students. I had the pleasure to work with Eileen Merberg, Trish Dillenbeck and Nancy Schneller at their annual leadership workshop this past fall. The students and advisors were welcoming, thoughtful, introspective, SMART and fun – my kind of people! I also was blessed to share some of this content with the Amazing People at the College of Staten Island – thank you Robert King Kee, Debi Kee, Carol Brower and Sandra Taranto!!!
Hope you can use some of these tools….Oh, AND I will be on Good Day Rochester Christmas morning with a version of this to help you set some new green habits in place for your NEW YEAR. Start today! Start before you are ready….GO! I mean it.
Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin
Your Leadership DNA – You Are Your Habits!
“Habits change into character.” Ovid, Roman Poet, born 43 BC
Your DNA, the magical double helix of “all things you”, is at the absolute core of who are – the one and only you in the entire universe! Your Leadership DNA – the complete essence of your capacity for making a positive impact – is how you communicate, who you trust, what you do. Your habits, internalized repeated patterns of behavior and principles, are at the overlapping intersection of your knowledge, skill and desire. Stephen Covey, author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” offers this: what you know (knowledge), how you lead (skill) and why you work so hard (desire), are the elements driving your commitment to your chapter and to your academic goals.
Your daily, personal and leadership habits are acquired behavior patterns followed until they become almost involuntary. Like a 3-legged stool, these habits build your Leadership DNA. Oh and by the way, only you will know if a habit is good or bad! I start my morning around the same time each day with cats, a glass of lemon water, and coffee (decaf – I broke my caffeine habit – yay!) I make my bed, read a devotional and 3 times a week, I swim for health and happiness. I end my day of work, meals (and snacks – more yay!) and 30 minutes of outside time with prepping for the next day, tidying my desk and being grateful for what I accomplished. Think about your good Daily Habits and map out your typical day from rising to resting – track your “habit-trail” of the things you do without really thinking. What do you do to set the tone for your day and how do you wrap it up at the end?
Your Personal Habits emerge from your Daily Habits and create patterns of how you interact with others, get your work done, make commitments and organize yourself. A few of my good PH’s are keeping my promises, finding humor in everything, being kind to ALL (not just the people I like or who are nice to me – this can be a tough one!), and green, local, sustainable living. What’s your PH? How do you stay on track, manage your relationships, and handle projects?
Your Leadership Habits build on your Daily and Personal Habits. They show up in how you run meetings, communicate with your chapter and advisor, and in your reputation as a team member and leader. Some one of my habits are to research and credit appropriate sources, hand written thank you notes, and 24 hour follow-up. How do you stay accountable, make decisions, and manage conflict? By the way, collectively your chapter has habits too! Think about how you are known on campus, who you collaborate with and what impact you have on your campus culture.
Breaking and making any kind of habit requires paying attention to the 3 R’s: Reminder Reward, Routine thanks to Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit.” Reminders are cues triggering your behavior – notice the when, where and who of the reminder. Reward is a tangible or intrinsic motivator, e.g. feeling great about a job well done, positive feedback, feeling healthier, enjoying that hot chocolate! Routine = Reminder + Reward = How you do your best YOU! Solidify your routine with a written, accessible, obvious plan. Breaking or making Leadership Habits takes at least 21 days and more like 66 days to lock them into your routine – is that good news/bad news? Maybe…time will tell! Meanwhile, start today and consider these elements to make your habits STICKY:
- Think big, plan small – your dreams come to fruition with billions of daily tasks!
- Create a “behavior chain” – one good habit begets another, and another….
- Minimize options – too many choices and your habit gets lost in the mix.
- Imagine how you will be when the habit is in place – focus on the excellent end result.
- Identify the breakdown moment – try again next time with fresh awareness.
- Start before you’re ready – don’t wait for a magical date to launch your new habits!
Your Leadership DNA is your habits – YOU are your habits! Be mindful every day of how you take care of yourself so you can do the same for others. Small steps will take you the long miles on your leadership journey. You can influence the strength and health of your chapter’s DNA with good, sticky Leadership Habits to ensure your bright future!