Being a leader comes with a laundry list of associated traits. Everything from a sense of loyalty to a risktaking spirit to a family man attitude has been listed as a necessary requirement of leadership. But leadershp isn’t just about the characteristics you do have. It’s also the mistakes you don’t make, the assumptions you fail to challenge and the opportunities you don’t miss. If you’re looking to improve your managerial and leadership skills, you can spend days being told what you should be doing. Here are four habits you need to drop instead.

  1. Not engaging with good advice

As a leader, you’re going to be given a lot of advice, and you need to know how to sift out the bad and pick out the good. It can be tempting to dismiss all advice based on confidence, and it can be tempting to think you know exactly what you’re doing and someone else can’t advise you.

But you will walk away from good suggestions and innovative ideas if you do so. Rather than assuming you know everything, develop your listening skills and develop your ability to discern helpful from unhelpful advice, like you would when speaking to a divorce lawyer. This isn’t the same as advice that will lead you to inevitable success, but it’s advice that has merit and is worth consideration.

  1. Focusing on the success of others

A good leader doesn’t try to take down people on your side. If you’re constantly focused on how you specifically will look after a particular project or sales bid, you’re not going to do a great job leading others to success. You must be able to effectively lead others, which means you have to be able to want them to succeed. This means not claiming credit immediately when your employees accomplish tasks themselves, even if your leadership helped them find their way. It also means giving others an opportunity to correct you, to outshine you and to lead you as well. Even as a leader, you are not infallible and possess the means to improve yourself.

  1. Missing opportunities for growth

On Inc John Eades describes discovering that TV shows, which he assumed were for entertainment, actually contain vital lessons and clues to strong leadership in many popular programs. By assuming that the television medium  was purely for entertainment, Eades did not realize the value and insight he could gain. Similarly, a strong leader should realize that opportunities for insight, growing your business and developing your career can come from anywhere. Although you should be able to relax off the clock, a good leader will always keep their eye open for good opportunities for engagement or growth.

  1. Envying the success of others

A good leader can be inspired by and motivated by fellow participants in his industry or historical achievers, but he should not look at successful competitors with envy. After all, a positive relationship can lead to mutually beneficial collaboration, another person’s success can be an educational lesson and good leaders don’t make a habit of making people dislike them. Competition does not necessarily make good leadership, while partnerships, the ability to work together and bridging divides do.

Take a good look at how your leadership skills stack up to those of others. Think about what makes a good leader - the ability to bring teams together, a knack for identifying successful ideas, the ability to cultivate dedication and loyalty - and think about what doesn’t. Drop the traits that don’t.

Author's Bio: 

An online entrepreneur and business management specialist.