The Leader Habit Book Summary - The Leader Habit Book explained in key points
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The Leader Habit summary

Martin Lanik

Master the Skills You Need to Lead in Just Minutes a Day

3.8 (136 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

The Leader Habit by Martin Lanik is a practical guide to developing leadership skills. It offers a unique approach to leadership development based on four simple habits that, when practiced daily, can transform a person into a successful leader.

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    The Leader Habit
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    Leadership skills are best understood as a series of learned habits.

    It makes little difference what field you work in – leadership skills matter. And we’re not just talking about company management here; these skills even make a difference when you’re running a household.

    So, how do you actually become a better leader?

    Leadership theorists used to argue that great leaders were genetically gifted, predisposed to behave as leaders. However, studies have disproved that view. We now know that 70 percent of the qualities associated with great leadership are learned behaviors. In response to this discovery, since 1996 there has been a massive boom in leadership development literature.

    Yet, this has hardly led to a new generation of gifted leaders.

    Worse, evidence suggests that there is a negative correlation between the rise in prominence of the field, and the confidence that Americans have in their leaders.

    If books aren’t working, what’s the best way to learn about leadership? Rather than seeing leadership as learnable knowledge, it would help to think of it as a set of skills. A skill can be learned through exercises, training your automatic behavior so that a habit is developed.

    Let’s look at the example of Laura. She was an emergency room nurse who was repeatedly passed over for management roles. Laura hadn’t noticed that her colleagues saw her as abrupt, emotionally erratic and argumentative. In short, she was hardly leadership material.

    To polish her CV and ensure she got the promotion she desired, Laura decided to take part in the author’s leadership development program. She learned to practice an important exercise: asking colleagues open-ended questions that ideally hinged on “What” or “How.” To remind herself to do this, she made a note on her hand. She soon found that her colleagues were a lot more responsive if she asked for their opinions. Using this technique, her relationships began to improve and her confidence grew.

    You too could try adapting your behavior in this manner, and developing this simple habit.

    Soon enough, Laura didn’t need written reminders. She not only succeeded in getting the management position she aspired to, but her relationships with friends and family members improved. All it took was training in the right skills.

    But how do you do this?

    The following blinks will introduce you the author’s Leader Habit Formula. The idea is that the habits essential for leadership can be practiced with simple five-minute training exercises.

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    Key ideas in The Leader Habit

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    What is The Leader Habit about?

    The Leader Habit (2018) details an approach to leadership development that favors practice and habit learning over rote learning of knowledge. By looking at the ways habits are developed, and by breaking down the skills necessary for successful leadership into microbehaviors, these blinks offer a structure for becoming a better leader through short training exercises.

    The Leader Habit Review

    The Leader Habit (2018) is a practical book that offers valuable insights into developing leadership skills through consistent habits. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its emphasis on practical exercises and actionable strategies, it equips readers with the tools they need to cultivate effective leadership habits.
    • By drawing from real-life examples and evidence-based research, the book provides tangible evidence of the impact that habitual leadership practices can have on individual and team performance.
    • The book's engaging storytelling captures the reader's attention and makes the subject matter engaging, ensuring that readers won't find it dull.

    Best quote from The Leader Habit

    It takes an average of 66 days to form a new fully automatic microbehavior.

    —Martin Lanik
    example alt text

    Who should read The Leader Habit?

    • Wallflowers looking to improve their leadership skills
    • Business school students and entrepreneurs
    • Strivers who’ve failed to keep a New Year’s resolution

    About the Author

    Martin Lanik is the CEO of Pinsight, a consultancy firm that fosters leadership development. His approach, which entails short practice sessions spread over a day, has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Chief Learning Officer and The technique has been implemented in companies including AIG and CenturyLink. Lanik has a PhD from Colorado State University in industrial-organizational psychology.

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    The Leader Habit FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Leader Habit?

    The main message of The Leader Habit is that small, consistent actions can lead to big leadership development.

    How long does it take to read The Leader Habit?

    The reading time for The Leader Habit varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Leader Habit a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Leader Habit is worth reading as it provides actionable strategies for becoming a better leader, all in a concise and practical format.

    Who is the author of The Leader Habit?

    The author of The Leader Habit is Martin Lanik.

    What to read after The Leader Habit?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Leader Habit, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins
    • What Philosophy Can Teach You About Being a Better Leader by Alison Reynolds
    • No Bullsh*t Leadership by Christ Hirst
    • The New Strategist by Günter Müller-Stewens
    • Good to Great by Jim Collins
    • How to Lead Smart People by Arun Singh and Mike Mister
    • Don't Overthink It by Anne Bogel
    • Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom
    • How Highly Effective People Speak by Peter Andrei
    • The Success Principles by Jack Canfield