Five new year resolutions for all leaders

Who knows what 2019 has in store for us. Certainly, the one thing we can count on is ongoing change and uncertainty, so it’s critical that leaders can take whatever is thrown their way it in their stride throughout the year. Here are five leadership resolutions that all leaders can, and should, embrace in the year ahead.

  1. Manage your time better
    This applies to your time at work and out of work.But particularly I want to focus on meetings as I work with so many clients who often complain of all the meetings they go to that slows down their own and their teams’ productivity, and often slows their motivation. Don’t waste another year going to or organising meetings that drag on too long, aren’t really a good use of time and don’t result in meaningful outcomes. Make it your new year’s resolution to only hold meetings that are necessary, relevant to attendees, and are well structed with achievable goals. Before you ping out another meeting request, check in with yourself to see if a meeting is required. Without negating the very real need to meet face to face with your team, some work cultures tend to hold a meeting for absolutely everything, when so much can (and should) be achieved via email these days. Some projects are best handled via email or at least a lot of the ground work can be done via email instead of multiple meetings that drag on and on and result in attendees feeling the meetings are eating too much into their ‘doing’ time. Time is precious, and meetings ought to be meaningful with everyone attending being engaged and only people attending if it’s necessary to the work they do. Set a good structure and agenda to your meetings and stick to it and set some boundaries for meeting behaviour and let your team know and get on board with your goal to be rid of meeting for meeting’s sake and to stick to the agenda and the point. If you have had a culture of long rambling meetings, communicate the new goal of keeping meetings on-point, relevant and as brief as possible and act as the goal-keeper in meetings to enforce this new structure. When meetings are set that can be tackled in another more efficient way, suggest that. People will thank you for freeing up their time to get their actual work done.
  2. Build rapport with your team
    Leaders who have a strong rapport with their team have happier workers who are more motivated and productive. People who have a good rapport with their leaders are much more inclined to approach their leaders when they need to discuss issues, admit mistakes and seek advice. Having a strong relationship with the people in your team will make everyone feel more engaged with the work they are doing and result in a happier bunch of people. Schedule some events in everyone’s calendar for the year ahead whereby you can enjoy each other’s company away from the workplace at away days, dinners, lunches, team building sports or whatever it takes to build friendships outside of the office. Schedule some one-on-one time with each person in your team also – even better if it’s on neutral territory (not your office) like a local café or restaurant to chat through their work and professional goals for the year ahead.
  3. Support the professional development of individuals in your team
    Professional development is important for everyone in your team. Make your team accountable for their professional development but setting out their goals for the year ahead both within work and for upskilling and training. Research shows that the main predictor of the success of professional development programs is the degree to which the participants’ managers support them. Ensure at the beginning of the year, and throughout it, you set a specific time aside to discuss with your direct reports their goals, their main areas they of focus and specific development and training opportunities they or you have identified. If they do pursue extra training, offer them as much support as you can for them to excel and prioritise their training.
  4. Lead through change and uncertainty 
    Being a leader means you need to have the ability to navigate your team through times of change; which are inevitable. Go into the year with a clear picture of what you want to achieve, the actions you need to take to achieve them, a good structure to communicate this with your team, and communicate them often. In times of change, it’s important you don’t give in to the inertia. Stay confidant, don’t hesitate, act quickly and communicate strategies and objectives exceptionally. Acknowledge and reward those who also act quickly and move forward through change.
  5. Support yourself 
    Over the Christmas and new year break chances are you feel less than on top of your game. The fact is your effectiveness as a leader is heavily influenced by your health. The healthier you are the more energy you have, the clearer you can think and the more focussed you can be. Start to eat better, get enough sleep, exercise regularly and manage your stress. And of course, set aside some time to jot down your own professional development goals and ensure you meet them throughout the year. 

    Here’s to an exceptional year ahead for all my clients and followers.

    If you would like to set the year in motion the right way, organise a tailored leadership workshop with me. Please get in touch today. I’d love to help!

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