Have you ever wondered what’s the basis of success in leadership and what habits you should adopt? Why do things seem to effortlessly fall into place for some, while others keep struggling and all their efforts are in vain in the end?

You might think now that there are probably a thousand reasons why some leaders are more successful than others. And you are absolutely right! But despite all external circumstances, which of course also affect success and failure, there is a handful of habits and ways of living most successful leaders have adopted:


1. Going the extra mile

The easy road usually doesn’t take you straight to success in leadership. Yet, many people and organizations keep looking for shortcuts and decide to not follow ethical principles in order to reach their goals faster. Successful people, on the other hand, usually have one thing in common: They know that it is vital to go the extra mile instead of taking the shortcut.

But what does the famous extra mile look like? It’s hard to give a general answer, so let’s illustrate it with an example: If you are working with people from different cultures, it’s important to treat them all equally. So far, so clear. Now let’s think one step further: You’re planning an event and there will be a buffet. Going the extra mile means thinking about cultural differences also in this setting and making sure everyone feels seen and respected—for instance by offering non-pork and vegan alternatives.

If you want to motivate your team to go the extra mile too, focus on flexibility. A flexible workplace boosts autonomy and self-responsibility as well as your team members’ motivation. Whether it’s about working hours, break rules, codes of conduct, or other topics—grant your team flexibility and room for personal development. Considering their needs will increase your team members’ intrinsic motivation and inspire them to go the extra mile themselves by putting in the work when needed. So never forget to adopt the extra mile in your habits.


2. Lifelong learning

Make it a habit to keep learning new things. Read books, listen to podcasts, try out new sports or find new hobbies. Lifelong learning broadens your horizons and should be one of your habits for keeping up with our fast-paced world—or shaping it yourself.


3. Focusing on challenges

Outstanding leaders invest their time mostly in challenging tasks. The more they challenge themselves, the more their faith in their own abilities to master challenges will grow. Tackling daunting tasks will help you expand your knowledge and further develop your talents, and this will give your confidence a big boost. It basically means you’ll “learn” that you’re able to reach the goals you set for yourself.


4. Making health a priority

There’s one thing all great leaders have in common. They take care of themselves, and they do so on four different levels: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Great leaders know that everything stands and falls with their health. You can only perform at your best when physically healthy. If you’re running on empty, on the other hand, how can you be great on an emotional, mental or spiritual level? Exactly. So, take care of your body in order to give your best at work (and anywhere else)!


5. Getting out of your comfort zone

Most people will agree that the known is more pleasant than the unknown, simply because we feel safer. Because we believe we know what comes next. Good leaders, however, make it a habit to regularly leave their comfort zone. They know that trying new things, taking risks and thinking outside the box leads to innovation. Our own, innovative evolution cannot happen from within our comfort zone.

Yet many are stuck right there, because they lack the courage to try out new things. What if there are setbacks? What if things were better the way they were? These thoughts are scary and lead people to just stay where they are. Therefore, make the conscious decision to act differently than you’d naturally do every now and then. Turn these experiments into a habit. You might not emerge victorious at the first try—but you will become a winner in the long run.


Now, are you ready to pave your way to success? Adopt these 5 habits step by step and become a great leader as you go!

Remember, this is the secret of success: The shortest way doesn’t always lead to your goal—you often have to go the extra mile to be successful. This entails staying curious and eager to learn new things. Which, in turn, means tackling new challenges regularly. However, make enough time for breaks. Breaks are okay, and even necessary in order to face those challenges with determination and power. Even if they might seem scary at the beginning. You can do this!