I’m the executive sales coach lead at Google and work with teams and leaders across the globe. These are the 4 habits that I see the most successful leaders practice. – DAVID RAUDALES


Businessman, musician / former Full Stack Developer


I’m the executive sales coach lead at Google and work with teams and leaders across the globe. These are the 4 habits that I see the most successful leaders practice.

AK Ikwuakor is an executive sales coach lead at Google.

Courtesy of AK Ikwuakor

AK Ikwuakor is an executive sales coach lead at Google. He says that even powerful leaders struggle with personal problems. Ikwuakor noticed that the best leaders are even-tempered. 

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with AK Ikwuakor, a 38-year-old executive sales coach lead at Google from Marina Del Rey, California. It’s been edited for length and clarity.

Behind a leader’s confident front, there’s always a deeply human side many people don’t see. Executives, contrary to some public perceptions, are not superhumans; they’re as fallible as any of us. It’s easy for the world to place them on pedestals.

As an executive coach, corporate team trainer, and consultant, I’ve worked with leaders and teams from fledgling startups to global conglomerates such as Google, Duke Basketball and the State Department. I act as a third-party guide, helping them in clarifying their goals, establishing necessary habits, and pushing them into action.

I once coached an executive of a multi-billion-dollar company who seemed to have it all — power, influence, and the respect of his peers. Yet, in our sessions, he opened up about the loneliness of his position and his struggle with imposter syndrome, worrying if he’d make a decision that could harm the livelihoods of thousands.

I’ve coached many executives who are overwhelmed by household tasks and implementing consistent health and exercise routines. I’ve regularly seen them sacrifice personal well-being and hobbies, like regular exercise, due to demanding work schedules. They might wrestle with the urge to constantly check their emails at home, work late into the night, and start again in the early hours.

But some executives have figured out how to rise above these professional and personal challenges through implementing effective habits.

Here are four habits of the most successful leaders:

1. They’re decisive and expert communicators

The best leaders I’ve worked with understand the importance of decisiveness in leadership, but they know it involves more than just making quick decisions — it’s also important how they communicate and then translate decisions into action. It’s like a three-legged stool where each element is essential for success.

I’ve seen exceptional leaders start with well-informed decisions. They review available information and analyze potential risks and benefits while also trusting their instincts. They also convey the reasoning behind their decisions and share expected outcomes and the impact on those involved.

The best decision can fall flat if it’s not translated into action, so the best leaders create a plan, assign responsibilities, and provide people with resources and support.

2. They’re constantly working on self-improvement

When I’ve worked with exceptional leaders around the globe, another commonality is that they understand leadership isn’t a fixed role — it’s dynamic.

The successful executives that I’ve coached don’t just sit back and hope for the best; they actively invest in themselves and their own development, seeking guidance from different sources like public-speaking coaches, executive coaches, personal trainers, and spiritual advisers who can provide them with unique perspectives.

Part of this involves diving deep into their business and the overall market to become thought leaders in their industry.

I work with tech leaders, for example, who are on top of advancements in AI. They attend conferences and geek out with experts in the field. Successful financial leaders attend seminars, dive into books on economics, and join mastermind groups to sharpen their skills. They stay curious and don’t get to the point they feel they know it all.

3. They’re expert relationship-builders

Maintaining a healthy work-life integration is the biggest challenge for leaders. Exceptional leaders apply the same principles to their personal relationships — including their family and loved ones — that they do to their employees and board members.

They actively listen, empathize, and make an effort to understand their needs and perspectives.

The habits that support this are making quality time with family a priority, engaging in open conversations, and ensuring that their personal commitments align with their values.

4. They have balanced temperaments and think long-term

I’ve seen ineffective leaders who resemble day traders on a chaotic trading floor. They become overly reactive to the daily ups and downs of running an organization or leading a team. They get swayed by short-term market fluctuations or let themselves be defeated by reactionary decisions. Their heightened anxiety and reactivity creates unnecessary swirl and panic within the organization.

The goal of successful leaders is the opposite of this: maintaining emotional intelligence while executing their daily objectives. It’s not about getting caught up in the day-to-day noise, but instead making decisions with the growth trajectory of their company in mind. They focus on the bigger picture and maintain a steady course, riding out short-term fluctuations.

That’s why great leaders possess a long-term investor mindset and maintain a balanced temperament. They approach challenges with a calm and collected demeanor, guided by their long-term vision. They have unwavering trust in their strategic direction and can get their team on board to adapt to changing circumstances.

Being a great leader isn’t just limited to Fortune 100 companies or specific industry sectors

Exceptional leaders can be found in organizations of all sizes, across different levels. No matter where they are, though, the world measures a leader’s success by tangible business outcomes. For the executive, however, success is often gauged by how well they navigate the tightrope of professional and personal challenges.

By embracing the power of these four habits, leaders can unlock their full potential and create a lasting impact in their lives at work and at home.

If you’ve worked with powerful executives and want to share your insights, email Jenna Gyimesi at [email protected].

Read the original article on Business Insider