Winning Habits for Success: Be a Better Leader


As a leader, you have the opportunity and control to set the tone and direction for your whole organization, so you want to create a productive working environment and have happy employees.  To become an influential executive leader, such as Mark Weinberger, CEO of Ernst & Young, take note of the tips offered in this piece.

Shared Standards & Responsibility

The days of Mr. Scrooge counting his gold in the corner and doling out horrendous tasks to overworked paupers shouldn’t be real life.  Successful business leaders hold themselves to the same standards they hold everyone else.  When their team suffers from a mishap, a good leader takes the fall.  When the team achieves a triumph, a good leader makes certain his team receives credit for the positive outcome, which can be motivational as well.  Forbes calls this an inverted “blame-to-credit ratio.”  A supervisor who takes credit for the good and then points fingers during the bad is “simply being a weenie.”  A true leader stands tall during success and failure; it’s part of the job to take responsibility says contributor Josh Linkner.

Positive Attitude & Environment

Complaining or barking to employees lowers morale and leads to defensiveness.  To achieve goals and accomplish tasks, managers need to positively cultivate talent and support employees. Good energies and attitudes in a workplace can make the difference.  Also, developing a personal, yet professional, relationship with your team can foster mutual respect.  With mutual respect, a manager and employee can work effectively in tandem and continue to develop a relationship free of negative emotions and toxicity that can alter productivity, efficiency and creativity.  Working well together and learning something new from one another is the true definition of a team.  “The team is always stronger than the individual,” argues Executive Mark Weinberger on

Power of Accountability

As a leader, your behavior should set the standard for the behavior of those around you.  Think of your actions and attitude like swimming in a fishbowl—they’re transparent for all to see and mimic, as described by  When a problem arises, take accountability for it.  If something stressful overwhelms you, your response will determine the standard for how the rest of the team also responds and cooperates.  People who don’t act accountable for the weight of their actions can set the stage for performers never living up to their potential.

Empathy & Consistency

Being able to finesse the waters of the work world includes empathy.  As a leader, one of your most important tasks is to deliver results.  Expressing empathy with your team helps ameliorate productivity and produce results because your employees feel valued.  Along with empathy, stay consistent with how you approach and respond to your team.  Managers who unexpectedly and hastily attack employees verbally or through email, for example, can cause employees to feel emotionally jarred.  Just like a positive attitude, empathy and understanding engender a productive environment where employees don’t feel restricted because they work in fear or anxiety.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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