Building a successful organization requires leaders who have developed good habits. The most successful leaders learn and adopt practices that help them stay on top of to-do lists, keep their teams engaged, plot smart goals, and balance their personal and work lives. But being a successful leader isn’t just about having good habits — it’s about avoiding bad ones!

Below, members of Fast Company’s executive board share seemingly harmless habits that every leader should recognize and eliminate to ensure continued progress and success.

  1. Thinking aloud. “Avoid thinking aloud in front of your team rather than taking the time to gather your thoughts. While it may feel like you’re inviting them into your decision-making process, doing so outside of brainstorms or time dedicated to idea generation may accidentally diminish your team by leaving them overwhelmed or working to pursue your many ideas without any sense of priority or where to begin.” – Daria Burke, JustFab
  2. Ignoring your gut. “Don’t blindly take advice from the experts without listening to your gut. It’s easy to default to others who have strong pedigrees, experience, and data to back them up. But question their input if it goes against what your gut says. Dig into it further. There have been times when I’ve followed my gut and did things that did not make sense on paper, and they’ve ended up being a differentiator for us.” – Jason VandeBoom, ActiveCampaign
  3. Failing to delegate. “One of the most detrimental habits is not delegating tasks because you assume that you can do the task better or you don’t trust someone else to do it quickly and/or correctly. The most important responsibility for any leader is helping empower others to take on important tasks so that leaders can focus on new efforts instead of supporting old ones.” – Noah Mitsuhashi,
  4. Overcompensating. “Before COVID, many times I fell into the trap of overcompensating when I did not have an answer for a business problem. During the beginning of the pandemic, I learned to admit that I truly do not have every answer. Co-creating solutions with your people through empathy, transparency, and honesty are critical success factors for any leader. Remember, there is no instruction manual for CEOs.” – Steven Moy, Barbarian
  5. Being too direct. “Bad leadership includes being too direct — to the point of being impolite — with the excuse of ‘being honest.’ Imagine the difference between telling an employee that they failed at a task and caused a bad outcome, as opposed to sitting down with them, praising them for their previous successful work, and encouraging them to do better with the next task.” – Yoav Vilner, Walnut
  6. Being reactive. “Leaders with a proactive mindset will accept responsibility for a situation and take the initiative to make things better. Reactive individuals let their circumstances define their decisions, whereas proactive leaders allow their values to drive their choices. Proactive leaders act rather than being acted upon.” – Irfan Khan, CLOUDSUFI
  7. Overworking. We’re all part of the always-on hustle culture, and this can lead to overworking and burnout. As leaders, it’s important for us to promote a healthy balance and ensure that we recognize people for good output, not long hours. – Scott Burgess, Continu
  8. Overthinking decisions. “I look to keep myself as busy as I can so I make snap decisions and live by them. If there is too much time to think about or review a course of action, then you’re more likely to talk yourself out of the right path. Trust your gut and run with it.” – Brad Burns, Wayne Contracting
  9. Neglecting self-development. “Don’t say you ‘don’t have the time’ for self-development. Leadership comes with great responsibility, and finding time to invest in yourself may seem challenging. But by continuously building your skills and emotional intelligence, you can elevate your capacity to lead with more humanity, creativity, and efficiency. This will enhance corporate results and fuel employee engagement and retention.” – Andreea Vanacker, SPARKX5
  10. Keeping people waiting. “Being late for meetings may seem like no big deal, but it sends a signal about how little you respect and value the time of the person who was on time and had to wait for you. Try instead to cultivate a habit of being punctual, or even early. Time is our greatest gift, and valuing it appropriately sets a solid foundation for productivity.” – Jessica Federer, Boston Millennia Partners