Stepping into a leadership role requires much more than just accepting the responsibility of directing others. It means adopting a mindset that will help you excel in your new role. Many times, people fail in their first leadership roles, because they look at it as just another position. However, it’s much more than a promotion and it requires changing your entire way of thinking.

Many view the path to great leadership in much the same way we launch a path to make any career move: education. While there is certainly any number of courses and seminars on what it takes to be a good leader, the lessons taught are often forgotten within a few short weeks. In the best of cases, learned leadership skills are implemented for a few months, before they’re abandoned altogether. When an employer foots the bill for paying for such continuing education options, they often wonder why they haven’t seen better results.

In The Leader Habit, author Martin Lanik states that the only way to help an individual adopt better leadership skillsĀ is by forming those skills into habits. Once any trait becomes ingrained as a habit, the person will perform those skills automatically. Just as poor behaviors can be learned, so can good leadership traits. In his book, Lanik suggests that the key to adopting those preferred leadership traits is through practicing them over and over. The act of repetition will help those traits and skills to become second nature.

Just as it is in sports and music, developing good leadership skills requires a determination to excel, a willingness to put in the hard work, and plenty of practice. Over time, the desired skills will not only be adopted as habits but will improve. As the individual hones his skills, he becomes a better overall leader.

A strong leader is dedicated to getting tasks completed as efficiently as possible, but it also requires focusing on the needs of your team. As Martin Lanik writes in his book, the best leaders will be able to integrate those two qualities into their leadership style. The best method is a customized program in which the leader’s personality and character traits are examined. Through this process, it’s easier to determine which skills need to be adopted and developed into habits. By focusing on weaknesses and encouraging strengths, a better leader can be forged.