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The Leader Habit: Master the Skills You Need to Lead—In Just Minutes a Day

April 10, 2018


Martin Lanik helps everyone master the skills needed to lead successfully—in just minutes a day.


In The Leader Habit, Organizational Psychologist and Pinsight CEO Martin Lanik helps everyone master the skills needed to lead successfully—in just minutes a day.


“Like playing the piano, leadership is more about skills than knowledge. The only way to become a better leader is to improve your leadership skills through deliberate, sustained practice, turning the skills into everyday habits,” explains organizational psychologist and Pinsight CEO Martin Lanik in The Leader Habit: Master the Skills You Need to Lead—In Just Minutes a Day (Amacom; April 2018). Lanik, who founded Pinsight, a global leadership development company in 2010, has created a process to help people acquire the habits they need to lead effectively. Built on simple, research-based exercises that can be completed in five minutes per day, Lanik’s method—called the Leader Habit Formula—works where other training programs fail.

“The reason why most training and leadership development programs fail is because they focus on acquisition of knowledge rather than skills and habits,” writes Lanik. “The intentions are good, but, the familiar methods and tools of knowledge-based instruction simply aren’t effective at developing skills, which can only be done by practicing the behaviors that make up the skills you want to learn.”

In devising the Leader Habit Formula, Lanik and his Pinsight team identified twenty-two core skills that are most common among successful leaders—half in the arena of “getting things done” and the other half focusing on people. For each skill—such as Manage Priorities, Make Good Decisions, Sell the Vision, Overcome Individual Resistance, Negotiate Well, and Build Team Spirit—the book includes:

  • A definition of the skill and a breakdown of its specific micro-behaviors.
  • A brief description of why the skill is important for effective leadership and how it influences the ability to achieve common business goals and strategy.
  • A list of telltale signs that indicate whether someone would benefit from improving the skill.
  • A description of the personality traits aligned with the skill, to help identify what types of people will find the skill intrinsically rewarding – and will therefore have the motivation to continue working on it
  • The five-minute exercises that will help people develop the skill by turning its micro-behaviors into habits (such as Ask Open-Ended Questions; Offer and Provide Support; Brainstorm Multiple Solutions; and Explain Your Rationale).

Using self-tests, Lanik shows readers how to identify their own personality traits, so they can determine which skills they should work on first. He also details how coaches, managers, and HR professionals can help others to develop their skills using his process. He then provides guidance for implementing this strategy in informal one-on-one and team contexts, and as part of formal leadership development programs.

As Steven T. Hunt, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Human Capital Management Research at SAP SuccessFactors says, “The Leader Habit succinctly summarizes decades of psychological research into a clear and engaging set of principles anyone can use to increase success at work. It shows how to change simple habits in a way that creates significant and lasting improvements.” For readers who want to fulfill their greatest potential, no matter where they work or what they do, The Leader Habit is the ultimate guide to leadership proficiency, because it helps people develop the specific habits they need to succeed—in just minutes a day.



Martin Lanik, Ph.D., author of The Leader Habit, is the CEO of Pinsight®, a global leadership development company. His leadership programs have been implemented by more than 100 companies—including AIG and CenturyLink—and have received awards from Chief Learning Officer and Brandon Hall. Lanik holds a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from Colorado State University. 

For companies that want to implement the methods outlined in The Leader Habit throughout their organizations, Pinsight® has created a new online product called The Leader Readiness Platform. This product facilitates continuous leadership development through live simulations and app-based exercises. You can learn more at

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