What’s the difference between a good manager and a great manager? It’s not where they went to school or what they learned. It’s not even their experience or resume. The real difference that separates highly effective leaders from from the pack are the daily habits and routines that they practice. In fact, study after study has shown that small behavioral changes can make huge impacts in how well a manager is able to lead her team and accomplish tasks.

Like other soft skills, leadership and effectiveness is something that can be taught and learned. In fact, even calling many of these attributes “skills” may be overselling the complexity involved in them. These actions are better described as routines – simple, predictable, repeatable patterns that one can consciously go through every day. Here are five routines that highly effective managers follow.

1. They Prioritize Communication With Their Team

Often, the difference between being a good communicator and a bad communicator is how much time you devote to it. Schedule time each day to meet formally with members of your team. Don’t use this time to just talk, but instead listen. Pay close attention to what your team members are saying, and follow up with them later to make sure any concerns are addressed. Better yet, leave some free time every day to allow strong communication to happen naturally and informally. Walk around the office, say hi to your team, and show an active interest in their work.

2. They Make Improvement A Visible Process

All great managers make improvement a permanent, constant, and visible part of their daily routines. How do you turn improvement from a lofty ideal into a working process? You do it by setting goals, tracking performance, helping employees overcome hurdles, and publicly recognizing when improvements are made. A sizable portion of your daily routine should involve setting goals both for your team as a whole, and for each individual team member. These goals should be public and open, concrete (“improve product sales by 20%” instead of “improve sales”), and easy to measure. They should range from short-term to long-term, and be specifically matched to your team.

Individual goals for team members should focus on their personal goals within the company. These shouldn’t solely focus on activities that pad the bottom line, but should instead take employees’ needs into account. Goals like “get promoted to a senior position” or “solve complicated problem x” or “develop a patent” are great personal goals to work on with your team members.

Once the goals are in place, follow up on them. While most managers have little difficulty following up on workplace goals and achievements (especially ones that make them look good to their superiors), a highly effective manager stays on top of his team members’ individual goals, too. As important as this is, it’s no surprise that this kind of personal interaction with your team members is enshrined in Google’s habits of successful managers several times: Be a good coach; Express interest in employees’ success and well-being; and Help your employees with career development.

3. They Demonstrate Consistency

One of the hallmarks of a routine is that it is consistent, and doesn’t vary dramatically from day to day or week to week. One of the hallmarks of a highly effective leader is that they demonstrate this consistency in everything they do. If you make time to communicate with your team members, make time for everyone. If you celebrate success, celebrate it equally. If you punish or chide failure, punish it consistently across the board. Good managers manage to achieve this kind of consistency.

Even more important than consistency in action is consistency in attitude. A lot of good managers manage to be consistent and fair with their employees. A great manager, however, manages to be consistently positive, forward-thinking, and available. They push aside stress, negative emotions, bad days, and disappointment, and instead manage to respond to every situation with calm, good humor, and a focus on finding solutions instead of assigning blame. That kind of consistency, when coupled with communication and coaching, is what allows highly effective managers to build strong rapport with their employees.

4. They Act In The Present, While Looking Towards The Future

All highly effective managers have an almost uncanny ability to plan for the future. They spend a good portion of every day planning for contingencies. Highly effective managers take the time to identify what can go wrong and what can go right, and come up with step-by-step response. More than that, highly effective leaders spend time thinking about the far future. They allow themselves the time and freedom to daydream about products and strategies that aren’t yet possible, but will be the next big thing 5, 10, or 15 years down the road.

Despite all this foresight, highly effective managers are also decisive in the present. They are able to make decisions quickly, and follow through on those decisions with full commitment. This is not an intrinsic trait: great leaders are not born being decisive leaders. Instead, they work decision-making into their routines and make a conscious effort to practice deciding on a course of action and committing to it.

5. They Approach Problems Objectively

Perhaps the most important facet of highly effective managers is that they see the world objectively. Instead of allowing their expectations, preconceptions, and desires to cloud their judgement, they face good news and bad with open eyes and inquisitive minds.

So how does one turn objectivity into a routine? Step one is to see just how far from objectivity you really are. There are many ways to do this, ranging from formalized testing and assessment (the EQ-i has a section devoted to objectivity, both in self-perception and decision-making) to simply asking for second opinions from the people around you. Often, a combination of both mechanisms is the best approach – using assessments to regularly gauge where you are and how you’ve progressed, and working feedback into every aspect of your daily routine.

The highly effective manager is proactive in getting feedback on her actions and decisions, both from stakeholders and from impartial observers. They don’t shy away from honest and forthright criticism, nor do they shy away from giving the same to the people around them. They systematize feedback as part of every routine and action, and encourage the people around them to do the same.