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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - 8 Habits of Great Leaders - Part 2

Craig Groeschel - 8 Habits of Great Leaders - Part 2

Craig Groeschel - 8 Habits of Great Leaders - Part 2
Craig Groeschel - 8 Habits of Great Leaders - Part 2
TOPICS: Leadership Podcast, Habits

When it comes to your leadership habits, remember the potential of your leadership is a reflection of the quality of your habits. The potential of your leadership is a reflection of the quality of your habits. So, if you want a bigger impact, develop better habits. I want to welcome our YouTube community. Please tell us where you're watching from. Just drop it in the comment section. Let us know where you're watching from. If you have a question, go ahead and type it in the comment section and I may be able to answer it in a future episode. In today's episode, we're going to look at some content that's not in my new book called, "The Power to Change: Mastering the Habits That Matter Most". This is additional content and I want to start with one of my favorite quotes. We know successful leaders do consistently what others do occasionally. It's all about consistently doing the right things.

Now, when I look at those that are consistently successful, it doesn't matter where they start, it doesn't matter what field they're in. It doesn't matter what hands they're dealt. They find a way to improve. They find a way to grow. They find a way to add value. Why? Because the most effective leaders haven't just mastered certain skills, they've mastered a certain mindset. It's all about how they think. Remember, your habits aren't just a result of what you do. Your habits are a result of how you think. The best leaders just think differently from the rest. And so that's why we're continuing our study, the eight habits great leaders have in common. And to be clear, if you're thinking, eight habits, I'll never do eight habits. You don't have to master all eight of these habits. You won't find many leaders who have all of these habits. But, you won't find any successful leaders who haven't mastered most of these.

Now, if you want to incorporate a few of these habits, I want to make it easy for you. Our team put together a great, one-page PDF with the habits and identity statements to help you define who you want to become as a leader. This will help you change how you think and master the habits that matter most. If you'd like this PDF, you can tape it to your mirror. You can read it before you go to bed. You can put it on your desk at work. It's free to you. Get the PDF at,

Let's get into the content, the eight habits great leaders have in common. In the last episode, we covered the first four. We'll review, number one is the habit of no snooze. Number two, the habit of pre-deciding. Number three, the habit of doing the hard-right. Number four, the habit of you first leadership. If you didn't hear this episode, listen to the previous one. Pick up the content. We're going to look at some new ones. Number five, we're going to talk about the habit of touching the line. Number six, we're going to talk about the habit of one more rep. Number seven, we're going to talk about the habit of fueling the fire. And number eight, the best leaders have the habit of showing back up. Let's look at them one by one. The first one we're going to look at is this.

Number five, the best leaders have the habit of touching the line. They touch the line. I'll explain. If you played sports growing up, chances are good you had a coach that made you run the line. You remember that? If you didn't, what you would do is you would start on the starting line, and then you'd run to the first line. You'd touch the line with your hand, and then you run back to the starting line and you touch the starting line. Then you go to the second line, touch it, and back to the starting line. Then you run past the first, past the second, all the way to the third, you touch it, and you go back and you would touch the line.

One of my favorite coaches said, if you want to be great, touch the line. Don't cut any corners. He said, if you cheat in practice, you cheat your progress. Touch the line. This is something that I'm almost legalistic about and my wife, Amy, she makes fun of me. You probably would too. We have this walk that we go on. It's an hour and 15 minute walk up this giant hill and at the end of the walk, there's a line at the very edge of the road where it stops. Every time I walk all the way up to the end and I put my toe right on the line and I touch the line. She says, you don't have to do it. Don't touch it, don't touch, don't touch it one time. I always touch the line because I tell myself, don't stop when you're tired, stop when you're done. A great leadership principle. Don't stop when you're tired, stop when you're done, touch the line.

What do we do? We're going to follow through. We're always going to finish with excellence what we started, we're going to touch the line. Now, here's some really good news. If you are the leader of whatever you're leading, you get to choose where the lines are. I'll give you an example. For me, I have a line on Wednesday at noon. What is that? That's a line that in my mind, my sermon notes are due to turn in for the following weekend. It's actually an artificial line. No one made up where that line is, but me. But it's a very real line. So my goal every week is to buy Wednesday at noon, I'm going to touch the line. I'm going to finish what I started with excellence by noon on Wednesday, my sermon is due.

And I have not missed a deadline in two decades. Why? Because good leaders touch the line. We do what we set out to do. We design everything around finishing what we started with excellence. Now, you may say, why do I put the sermon due on Wednesday? Because it's the most important thing that I do and I'm useless until it's done. In other words, if you want me to make a decision, and I've got the sermon hanging over me, I really can't focus. So I've got to get that done so then I can free my mind to do other things. What do we know? As leaders, we do first what matters most. We prioritize. Get in the habit of finishing what you started with excellence. The best leaders touch the line.

Number six, let's look at another habit. The best leaders do one more rep. They do one more rep. To be a world class leader, what you're going to want to do is you're going to want to do more than what's expected. You're going to want to exceed expectations. You're going to do one more rep and a shout out to my buddy Ed Mylet who wrote the book, the Power of One More, about his dad, who overcame an addiction to alcohol and would have one more day sober and one more day sober. Great book Ed. Good job on that. As an athlete, what I like to do is I like to try to do one more rep. If a coach or if my workout partner says, hey, let's get 10 reps on the bench. What I want to do is I want to get 11, because 11 is actually 10% more than 10. And why does this matter? To exceed the expectations of others, raise the expectations of yourself. Let me say it again.

If you want to get really, really good of exceeding the expectations of others, start with raising the expectations of yourself. The principle, the habit of one more, it will stretch you, it'll make you stronger, it'll make you better. If someone asks you for something, give them what they ask for and give them a little bit more. You'll bless them and you'll stand out. Think about it, when someone does more than I expect, it actually changes how I think about that person. Then think about it organizationally. When someone does more than I expect at a company, it doesn't just change how I think about the person, it changes how I think about the company they work for.

I'll give you an example. There's a restaurant that Amy and I go to often and recently this young employee was smiling so big when we came through the line and she comped our meal. We're like going, what'd you do this for? And she said, we get to comp one meal every week. And she said, I've been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for you guys to come in. That exceeded my expectations. And so I tell everybody about this restaurant, not just because of the food, but because of the quality of the people that work there. And think about this, whenever a business meets my expectations, if they meet my expectations, I'll be a customer. But when they exceed my expectations, I'm an ambassador. I'm telling everybody about something that exceeded my expectations.

So, when it comes to your team members, if someone meets expectations, this is someone worth keeping. But if someone exceeds expectations, this is someone worth promoting. You want to be someone worth promoting. Do one more rep, exceed the expectations of those around you. And it can be as simply as coming in a little early or staying a little late to add value. Instead of just like pointing out a problem in a meeting. Don't just point out a problem but, bring a solution, that's bringing something extra. If someone gives you an assignment, don't just do what's asked, but maybe turn it in early or exceed the expectations and do a little bit more than they ask for. We're always committed to finish. That's what we do. We touch the line. The best leaders touch the line and we do more than is expected. We have the habit of one more rep.

Habit number seven, the best leaders are constantly fueling the fire. They're fueling the fire. What we want to do is we want to inspire others, but it's also important to inspire ourselves. We fuel the fire. Now, you've probably noticed it's easy to get excited about like a new job or a new project or a new mission or a new role, but it's difficult to stay passionate over time. That's why as leaders, we have to fuel our own fire. And you may notice that I talked about inspiring yourself and I didn't say motivating yourself, because there is a difference and I'm not against motivating ever, ever, ever. We want to motivate. But there's a big difference between inspiring yourself and motivating yourself, because the root word for motivation is motive.

To motivate yourself, you might put on your favorite song or something. You need an external motive. You need something from the outside. You need an external force pushing you toward work, pushing you toward movement, pushing you toward progress. The root of motivation is motive, but the root of inspiration is in spirit. Motivation comes from an external source. Inspiration comes from within, and there's a big difference. What's the difference? Motivation pushes you. Inspiration pulls you. If you do something out of motivation, you'll work for someone until the external motivation is removed. But if you do something out of inspiration, no one can talk you out of the passion. You have to bring your best.

For example, someone asked me like when you preach, now I've been preaching for 31, maybe 32 years. How do you keep the passion? I'll tell you what I do. Before I preach, I go through this ritual in the same way an athlete might have a pre-game ritual. For me, it's a pre-game, pre-sermon ritual. In my mind, what I do is I go back and I see myself very, very broken in my sin. Before I was a Christian, and I visualize the people that I hurt I visualize that I was a mess. And then I think through what it meant to me when I found forgiveness and found new life in Christ.

Then whenever I preach, after going through this in my mind, so I'm sitting in the seat going through this, I go to preach and I take a step forward, and what I'm doing is right before I preach, I take a very big step forward. I'm stepping out of my fears, out of my insecurities, and I'm stepping into a calling. I'm not motivated, I'm inspired. It's from the inside. I'm inspired to transform lives. I like what one of the great pastors of old and the founder of the spiritual movement, John Wesley said, he said, "Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn". You want to do this as a leader. The best leaders, they touch the line, they finish what they started with excellence, they do one more rep. We exceed the expectations of others and we fuel the fire from the inside. We're inspired to bring our best all the time.

Now, this last one is may be my favorite, and it's certainly the most emotional to me. The best leaders have the habit of showing backup. The best leaders have the habit of showing back up. And here's something I know about you. Even if we've never met, I know this about you. You have some goal, you have a dream, you have a vision, you have something significant you want to accomplish, you want to make a difference. What I also know about you is you will hit resistance and you're going to face opposition. And at some point you're going to lose confidence. Whenever you stall whatever it is, you've got staff problems, you've been working your brains out and you're making a little or no progress, you've been leading twice as hard and getting half the results. You've got a difficult boss, whatever it is, discouragement sets in and you're going to feel like giving up. You're going to second guess yourself and wonder, do I have what it takes?

It might not even be in your leadership. It could be something in your personal life. Like right now, you may have a relationship that you've been trying to restore and the harder you try, the worst it seems to get. Or you might be believing for some miracle for your child or for a physical, a healing miracle or for your finances or to overcome some addiction or something. And you've tried and you've prayed and you've believed nothing is happening and you're discouraged and maybe you're losing hope. What I want to do for a moment is I want to slow this down and I'm hoping this speaks to your heart. What do you think separates average leaders from amazing leaders? What do you think separates those who are fulfilled in their leadership and those who are consistently empty in their leadership? What do you think separates successful leaders from those who struggle?

Let me tell you what it's not. It's not their intelligence. It's not their appearance. It's not their talent. It's not their education. It's not who they know or what they know. What separates them is perseverance. It is the refusal to quit. Angela Duckworth did groundbreaking research and she studied, why do successful people succeed? She looked at teachers, she looked at those in the military, she looked at people in business, and I love that she looked at spelling B champions, like fifth grade kids that could spell words nobody else can spell. What she discovered is the thing that sets apart the best is grit. It's grit. Her book is called Grit and she defines it as the strength of character that refuses to quit. I like what Duckworth says. She says, "Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare".

So, whenever I'm discouraged and I'm probably discouraged more often than you would like to think I'm discouraged. I tell myself, when I commit, I don't quit. I'm a finisher. I show back up. When I commit, I don't quit. I am a finisher. I've been studying jujitsu now for about three years. Pretty cool. I get beat up a lot. And my coach asked me, what is a black belt? And I said, that's someone you run from, which is someone I run from. But my coach said, nope a black belt is a white belt that refuses to quit. I like that. The first time I questioned my leadership in a significant way, it was between, it was like a long season between years 11 and 13 in the church. The church was 11, 12, 13 years old. And we had grown into a multi-site church before other churches had and probably to an extent that others had not yet. And so we had outgrown my abilities and knowledge of how to manage my multi-site organization.

The culture was challenged, the leadership unity was fractured, and I felt hopeless, completely depressed. And I went to teach at a leadership conference and I did my lesson. I went and sat down. A hero of mine followed me. And I thought, you're nothing but a hypocrite. Like, who are you? You don't know what you're doing. You shouldn't even be here. And I was about to break down crying. I was trying to take notes with the guy, was speaking, and I heard the words on the inside that were, it wasn't audible, but it was so loud. I just wrote it down on my notepad. In my lack of confidence, in my feelings of failure, I heard the words, "Quit whining. You're sharp. Fix it".

And I wrote those words down, quit whining. You're sharp. Fix it. And it was a game changer for me. It was a game changer because all I was doing was whining and complaining about how I'm not this and not that. And the words, quit whining, is what I needed to hear. You're sharp. It was like I had like, for me it was like a heavenly coach telling me like, you have what it takes. You know, in other words, if you're still there it's because you're supposed to be there. You have what it takes. Now, get in and do what leaders do. Fix it. Quit whining, you're sharp, fix it. For whatever reason, I went from feeling like a victim with no authority, no ability to lead to someone that could fix it. And I went back and assembled our top leaders and basically said, here's where I've gotten it wrong.

Here's what I want to do and are you willing to say where you got it wrong as well? And I had a really difficult leadership conversation and at the end we walked out unified and we stood before our team and said, here's where we've messed up and here's what we're going to do. And almost instantly there was this organizational sigh of relief going, yeah you guys have not been unified, you haven't been together. And now that we are together, we can do something special. And it was very, very quickly where we went from having an unhealthy culture to a strong and vibrant culture. It's amazing how quickly good people respond to good leadership. And so I'd say to some of you, like right now, like you're feel like you don't have what it takes. I just say, hey, quit whining. You're sharp. Get in there and do what leaders do and fix it. Because sometimes, the most important thing you can do is show back up. Show back up. The best leaders refuse to quit.

So, let's review. The quality of your leadership is a reflection of the quality of your habits. If you want to change your leadership, change your habits. What I want you to know is that you can honestly do this. You have what it takes. What are you? You're one of the best leaders and you're getting better because you're developing the right habits. You're a leader who doesn't hit snooze. You don't let your alarm happen to you. You happen to your day. You're the leader who pre-decides. You choose ahead of time what you're going to do and you implement value-based actions every single time. You also choose the hard-right. Whenever easy presents itself, you say, no, I'm rather I'd rather do what's right and I'm going to trust the results by doing what's right. You're a leader that cares about people. You're a you first leader.

Many people try to make them look important themselves, but you help other people see that they're important. You have the habit of you first leadership and you finish what you started. You touch the line. You always touch the line. And you do more than expected. You do one more rep. You don't need an external motivation. You're internally inspired, you fuel your own fire and you may be down, but you're never out. You always show back up. And then you keep doing these small habits over time. You press repeat because the best leaders do consistently what others do occasionally. Show up, lead well. Believe in yourself, believe in the people around you, believe you can make a difference. Quit whining. You're sharp. You have what it takes. Fix it. Do what great leaders do.

Now, a big thank you to you for being a part of our community. On the next episode, I am interviewing one of the greatest, Lewis Howes. He hosts one of the biggest podcasts in the world called, The School of Greatness. We're going to talk about his book, The Greatness Mindset. I also want to remind you to get the leader guide. Go to You can also get the one-page PDF of all the eight habits of the great leaders and the identity statements, go to You may want to grab a copy of my new book, The Power to Change Mastering the Habits That Matter Most. Thank you for being a part of our community. It's my goal to continue investing in you. I believe that you're going to get better and we know that everyone wins when the leader gets better.
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