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Guest Blogger - Faz Fazal

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Gateway’s CEO, Paul Thomas, is currently on annual leave. In his absence, this week’s guest blogger is Faz Fazal. Faz is one of Australia's leaders in Talent Acquisition & Executive Search. For over 20 years Faz has built, managed, developed and led teams that support organisations in achieving their growth strategies - realised through the successful recruitment, retention, management and development of their people. With a passion for people, teams and cultures and as an expert in talent, Faz regularly shares his insights on effective leadership and management in order to support career aspirations and goals.

Why Great Leaders Obsess About Their Habits

It is useful when we understand how we need to behave in any given situation.

Our brains are only so powerful, and the more they can go into autopilot, the more head space we have for solving the trickier problems that come our way.

The big question is this:

Is our autopilot configured correctly? Are we sure that our ingrained habits are good for us?

In a world where demands are changing rapidly, our previous way of doing something might not be suitable for a change in circumstances. Assuming that our habits will see us through the rest of our life is a dangerous thought. In that case, we would probably be better off not following any habits at all – just reacting to each and every moment as it comes. Yet, as the saying goes, we are “creatures of habit” – it is when those habits are no longer fit for purpose that our lives start to suffer.

The habits of leaders have a far wider-reaching effect than those of an employee. Their behaviour will impact those around them, and they have a great responsibility to ensure that they are making the right choices. I’m not sure how many habits we have every day, but it certainly numbers in the hundreds if not thousands. Any one habit that has a detrimental effect on another person might not seem like an issue, but if it is repeated on a daily basis (as habits often are), then the cumulative effect can be significant.

Good habits can bring people closer – bad habits can destroy relationships irreparably.

In my various roles over the years, I have often found it useful to take regular moments of reflection to think through how I would handle various situations. Actively considering my habitual behaviour is a great way of sense checking whether they are still fit for purpose. It is easy to tell oneself that others should be used to “the way I do things” but if that way is no longer the best way, it is our responsibility to change. Only the people closest to us will tell us to change ourselves – we have to recognise it first.

I suppose that is why many of the greatest leadership literature revolves around how we manage our habitual behaviour and how we regulate our thoughts. When we are constantly fine-tuning our autopilot, we can be sure that optimal results will follow and we won’t be plagued by thoughts about whether we could have done something better. Stress arises when situations are not under our control – when our habits don’t fit the required behaviour, things can spiral out of control worryingly quickly.

When we are thinking about our habits, it is always useful to ask the opinions of others. How would they prefer that we did certain things? What is important to them in any given situation? How do your habits impact on the habits of others? Habits don’t exist in a vacuum. When we obsess about our habits (and we all do to some extent), we have to think about their impact on those around us.

How well are your current habits serving you?

Faz Fazal


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CEO Paul Thomas