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Leadership Essentials: Six Key Habits to Living and Leading at Your Best

How to get the core skills to reach your potential if you’re in—or heading for—the C-Suite

Written by: Kendra Kinnison
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When you first thought about becoming a leader, you imagined all the progress you could make…

Getting the business to grow and run more smoothly, helping people, changing policies so that they made sense. But your dreams were quickly stalled when you realized how many more problems and red tape you’d have to navigate first. You barely have enough time to see your family, your health is getting worse, and those dreams of making a difference feel like a distant memory.

There are lots of places to turn for help, but few of them know exactly what it’s like to be in the trenches.

After more than a decade in the C-suite and coaching over a thousand clients, I can help you navigate the leadership landmines so they don’t explode in your lap. You can avoid burnout, minimize health scares, and build a team that gets the job done.

In 2007, I landed in my first significant leadership role. It was amazing. I was the CFO of a $4 million company that multiplied itself many times over in the coming years. We built an exceptional team across several cities and countries, and I was constantly traveling.

Perhaps you can predict what comes next.

It almost destroyed me. My weight ballooned by more than 30 pounds. I had all sorts of odd health problems. I was exhausted and cranky, and I wasn’t very good at preventing the stress from rolling down to my teams. Within a few years, I knew I had to step away and regroup.

It was humbling, and I felt like I’d failed. I promised myself that I would be better prepared for the next opportunity. I attended dozens of conferences, read hundreds of books, listened to over 500 hours of podcast interviews, and assembled a team of mentors that I could call upon for advice.

In late 2010, I reconnected with a company I’d worked with before and soon joined their team in the senior finance role. I’d get another chance. And after Port Royal went through several general managers in a short time, I was promoted to that position. Now, I’ve got the second longest tenure in the history of the organization. (We’ve even been through a hurricane together.) It is very intense, but I’m up for the challenge.

I believe that we can learn to live and lead at our best. In fact, I know that’s true.

There’s a core set of skills that set good leaders apart from great ones. These core skills are relatively easy to adopt — but you’ll need to be intentional about developing them.

Layer by layer, you can build the habits that will support you in reaching your leadership potential.

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