13 Habits of Highly Successful New Leaders

By Brian K. Dodd

Bill BelichickAre you new in your leadership?  Are you trying to figure out what to do first?  Where to begin?  You have big dreams but you lack experience.  Maybe you have just put some new leaders in place in your organization who you want to be highly successful.  Is there a blueprint that leaders, especially those new to their positions, can follow to be highly successful?

Few leaders are as successful as Bill Belichick, 3-time Super Bowl winning head coach of the New England Patriots.  I am currently reading Michael Holley’s book, War Room.  In this book Holley gives an unprecedented look into the leadership style of Coach Belichick and his former proteges, Scott Pioli, who became the general manager of both the Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, and Thomas Dimitroff, current GM of the Atlanta Falcons.

The book’s first chapter is devoted to their time with the Cleveland Browns.  As I was reading, I noticed 13 habits that new leaders can practice to become highly successful.

  1. Highly Successful New Leaders Have Thinking Skills – When Belichick became head coach of the Browns, it is immediately noted that he was full of ideas.
  2. Highly Succesful New Leaders Are Clear Communicators – Nothing hurts new leaders more than a lack of clarity.
  3. Highly Successful New Leaders Respect The Veterans – Even though Belichick had many new ideas, he relied heavily on the experience of veteran scouts when evaluating talent.
  4. Highly Successful New Leaders Add Youth – Mixing young people in with quality veterans adds a different perspective and allows you to raise people in your system.
  5. Highly Successful New Leaders Build Relationships With Those In Your Industry – Pioli was referred to Belichick by a friend of a friend.
  6. Highly Successful New Leaders Value Loyalty – Being loyal does not make a person a leader.  However, being disloyal disqualifies a person from leadership.
  7. Highly Successful New Leaders Know That All Leadership Is Temporary - New leaders should always remember that you are only renting your position.  You do not own it.
  8. Highly Successful New Leaders Learn The Entire Business – Do not just learn your position.  Pioli learned everything from player evaluation to how to fix the copier.  Dimitroff started on the grounds crew marking the field before practice.
  9. Highly Successful New Leaders Try Unconventional Methods – When Pioli evaluated players, he even paid attention to how they interacted with team doctors, nurses and other clinic employees.
  10. Highly Successful New Leaders Surround Themselves With Talented People – Also on the Browns coaching staff at this time was Nick Saban, Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz, and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz.
  11. Highly Successful New Leaders Make Hard Decisions – Belichick drew the immediate ire of the local media when he limited their access.
  12. Highly Successful New Leaders Practice Good People Skills – Though on the grounds crew, Dimitroff always had access to player files and other items in the Browns headquarters because it was “always a good time when he was around.”
  13. Highly Successful New Leaders Stick To Their Principles – Times got very difficult in Cleveland but what made Belichick, Pioli, and Dimitroff all future successes was they remained true to their core values and stuck to their principles.

Thinking Skills, Clear Communication, Respect Veterans, Add Youth, Build Relationships, Value Loyalty, Know Its Temporary, Learn The Entire Business, Unconventional Methods, Surround Yourself With Talented People, Make Hard Decisions, People Skills, and Stick To Your Principles.  If you do these 13 things, you will position yourself and the organization to be highly successful.

What is one thing you have learned from this list that will make you a better leader?

Brian K. Dodd

Brian K. Dodd

Brian Dodd's daytime job is as a Generosity Architect and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. During the last 10+ years, he has spent each day having one-on-one conversations with many of the greatest church leaders in America. He also also has over 25 years of church volunteer and staff experience. Check out his blog: Brian Dodd on Leadership.