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Wednesday, January 3, 2024

10 Ideas or Resolutions to Be A Better Leader in the New Year

It’s that time of year again when many are making personal resolutions for change. But as I said yesterday I recommend forgetting the whole concept of resolutions and concentrating on setting goals instead. For most managers the beginning of New Year means establishing a new set of objectives. This is a good time to reflect on your progress over the past year and plan how you want improve in the coming year.

Here are ten ideas to get you started. Sticking to even one of these resolutions in the new year will make you a better leader, but you might be surprised at how valuable they'll be outside the workplace.

1. Embrace Accountability

Accountability is an oft-misunderstood concept. The most common misconception is that accountability is a negative factor that people must be held to. However, in its truest form, accountability is a healthy force that should be embraced.

Make this the year of embracing accountability and better leadership by giving your team the autonomy they need to approach problems in a way that they feel they can take genuine ownership over them. Watch them transition into happily accepting accountability for their responsibilities, and leave the managerial pressure back in the past. Reframe accountability in your workplace to be a powerful and positive force.

2. Build Trust

Trust is absolutely vital to the success of any relationship, and it's a two-way street. You need to know you can trust your employees to do their best every day, and they need to trust the decisions you make are in the best interest of the team.

In order to give employees the autonomy they require to truly embrace accountability, you have to trust them. Before your team can truly dedicate themselves and be fully engaged, they need to trust you.

3. Be a Better Communicator

A good leader needs to express themselves clearly. Without establishing healthy communication with your team, you will never be able to achieve your most ambitious goals. Think of it this way; you can’t possibly express yourself and listen at the same time. You need to be a good listener to become a facilitator and vice versa.

Be completely present when you are engaging in conversation with others. Don’t let technology or other people distract you — make eye contact, put down any phones or other objects, and give that person your full attention. Give them time to speak, and take the time to reflect on what has been said and thoughtfully provide a response.

4. Break Down Barriers

All kinds of barriers exist in the workplace. Physical barriers like walls and distance combine with less physical, but still very real barriers like time, hierarchy, technology, communication, and culture. This can be the year of the sledgehammer—breaking down barriers wherever they stand, and becoming a better leader because of it.


5. Develop Employees

Most people want to learn and grow their skills at work. Encourage experimentation and taking reasonable risk to develop employee skills. Get to know them personally. Ask what motivates them. Ask what career objectives they have and are aiming to achieve. You can make their career. In order to get the most from your employees, you need to invest time and resources in their development. Annual performance reviews simply aren’t enough. Make a point to sit down with each employee on a monthly basis (or more frequently, if possible) and provide them with specific feedback and areas of improvement.

6. Be a More Strategic Leader

If you’re like many other managers and executives, you struggle to balance short- and long-term priorities, and need to be able to move strategies past the goal-setting stage and into the transformational stage.

Whether or not you feel strongly about New Year’s Resolutions, a brand new year is an excellent time to evaluate your current leadership style and identify opportunities to enhance your skills.

7. Get Comfortable With Your Discomfort

If you really want to lead and create impact, you're going to have to get comfortable with your discomfort — comfortable with confronting the things you may not want to address head on, comfortable saying "no" to things that don't line up, and comfortable with saying "yes" to things that do but that stretch you. Your comfort with discomfort is proportional to how far you can lead.

8. Spend Less Time In Meetings

Meetings are often the enemy of your real work. The reason you work evenings and weekends is because you didn’t get your work done during the day, in great likelihood because you were in meetings.

Time is precious and let’s face it, literally no one wants to spend any more time than is necessary in a video call anymore. Team meetings are necessary to keep work on track, give quick feedback and guidance, answer questions, and overall ensure your team is working systematically toward its deadlines – but they need to be both efficient and have meaning for your team members.

9. Try Something New

Speaking of growth and improvement, this is the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. But not just something new, something you're a bit afraid to do.

Find that one thing you've been avoiding and tackle it—don't give up until you walk away victorious. It can, but doesn't have to be work-related—the confidence you gain will translate either way. Whatever it is, go do it, then find the next challenge.

10. Celebrate and Reward Improvements

New Year's resolutions are all about celebrating and facilitating growth, whether that's personal, professional, or otherwise. It's important to take time to reward and recognize even small, but positive steps forward. After all, those small steps are what add up to impact.

Naturally, your resolution may focus on areas that lack progress, but don’t forget to savor the progress made, and find some small way to celebrate.

It is our role as leaders to reinforce cultural transformation in the workers perception of their work roles, to create structures for empowered workers to be accountable and successful, to communicate, support, reward and model this culture of engaged workers, helping to identify and resolve defects and eliminate waste.

Whether or not you feel strongly about New Year’s Resolutions, a brand new year is an excellent time to evaluate your current leadership style and identify opportunities to enhance your skills.

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