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  • Writer's pictureCindy Saunders | Leaders Rise

Stop complaining, gossiping, and avoiding. Break out of the bad habits, build the good ones!

“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision but as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.” James Clear, Atomic Habits

Some people set out for leadership. They want to be in a leadership role and take charge. Other people find themselves in leadership roles reluctantly.

They don’t necessarily see themselves as leaders, but circumstances or necessity dictate that they’ve got to step up and lead. Either way, both potential leaders bring more than positive skills to the plate…

All of their habits tag along right beside them.

We’ve all got habits that we need to break.

Too much fast food. Binge-watching Netflix and other habits don’t always serve us.

Leaders have bad habits too, even when they are leading others.

Breaking bad habits can make you a better leader.

Breaking bad habits does more than reducing the negativity in your life, it molds you into a better and more effective leader.

Here’s how:

Losing a bad habit is one thing, but what you learn in the process is a secondary benefit. Dropping the bad habit itself will make you healthier but overcoming the mindset and behaviors that accompany the bad habit is equally beneficial.

Dropping the fast-food habit will make your body healthier.

Dropping the thoughts and behaviors associated with buying and eating fast food goes even further to make you a better leader because you can model and teach these skill sets.

Here are 3 bad habits you can break that will make you a better leader:

Break the Complaining Habit

Complaining is a form of passive aggression and has no place in a leader’s tool kit.

Complaining is an immature way to manage stress.

Sure, recognizing that something isn’t right is important. Analyzing things for their merit matters but going on and on about it without making changes is worthless.

Venting has its place in the right context but complaining wears people out and gets them riled up. Finding solutions to whatever needs to be changed is the answer.

Great leaders don’t complain about things, they tackle them and do what needs to be done.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Break the Gossiping Habit

The surest way to sabotage your leadership is to gossip. Talking about others behind their backs doesn’t do anyone any good.

Those that gossip and make others look bad in order to make themselves look good- only make themselves look bad!

As my mama used to say,” if you wouldn't say it while that person is in the room listening, don’t say it at all.”

If you have a habit of talking about people to other people, you will erode trust within your team, family, or community in a heartbeat.

You will most certainly create a lack of trust in your leadership.

Dropping the gossip habit is a bad habit that all good leaders let go of. You can avoid gossip by refusing to speak negatively about others as part of your personal standard.

You can avoid gossip in groups by removing yourself from conversations that include gossip.

You can also set the standard with the people you lead and those you influence on and off duty by making it a practice not to gossip.

Break the Avoidance Habit

Leaders get things done. That’s why they’re leaders.

Leaders don’t wait to be told what needs to be done. They recognize and see what needs to be taken care of and take initiative to do it.

If something is difficult, they find help. If something is too complicated, they seek guidance.

Leaders don’t procrastinate and they don’t avoid anything.

This includes avoiding tasks, avoiding difficult conversations, and avoiding challenges.

Dropping the avoidance habit helps make leaders more consistent and effective.

Whether you are asking to lead or being pushed into it, you might have some habits worth breaking before you do.

Breaking these habits can help transform your effectiveness as a leader on and off duty and make your overall life experience much better.


For practical and dynamic guidance on how to break habits, read Atomic Habits by James Clear. According to his research, habits repeat themselves not because we have a lack of willpower, but because we have the wrong systems in place. Wait, what?

By focusing on a framework that includes understanding cues, cravings, response, and rewards, we can get 1% better EVERY day.

“We change bit by bit, day by day, habit by habit. We are continually undergoing microevolutions of the self. Each habit is like a suggestion: ‘Hey, maybe this is who I am.’ If you finish a book, then perhaps you are the type of person who likes reading. If you go to the gym, then perhaps you are the type of person who likes to exercise. If you practice playing the guitar, perhaps you are the type of person who likes music. Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” James Clear, Atomic Habits

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If you would like to know more about leadership development coaching, let's talk!

You can reach me at or 775-453-8907.


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