Happy New Year and Lead Well

Yup, it’s that time of year.  Time to make those New Year’s resolutions, many of which we will break by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around.

If you are a leader, and have had some time to clear your head during the holiday time off, we’d like to offer some suggestions for possible resolutions.   They are inspired by the article “10 New Year’s Resolutions for the 21st Century Leader”, by Terry Starbucker.

Consider this list for your reflection and action.

1)      I will do something that feeds me every day.  Whatever you invest in yourself, will make you more successful and effective.  Whether you exercise, read something for your own enrichment, or take time out to enjoy your family or friends, commit to feed your spirit.  This will energize you to do more to support your organization.

2)      I will see my employees as the “customers” of my leadership (not the other way around).  It is easy to focus on directing your energies at pleasing the people above you in the pyramid – especially when they are making demands on you.   When too much of your attention is directed upward, however, your people are likely to feel disenfranchised, and less committed to and trusting in you.

3)      I will achieve a better balance between my work self and private self.  It is easy to sacrifice your kids, spouse and friends – especially when things get hectic at the office.  The price you pay in the long run is NOT worth it. You may be eroding the most vital relationships in your life – and risk paying a high price for years to come.   No one is irreplaceable, and if you were gone tomorrow, your organization would easily survive without you.   Manage your time with that in mind.

4)      I will remember to act more deliberately making our core values strategic.  Most organizations have so-called core values, but they aren’t much more than a piece of art on your lobby wall.   Ask yourself which of these are really central to your success as a team and be deliberate about living, recognizing, rewarding, and making decisions based on them.   If you think honesty is a core value, and you when you find that your top performer lied on his or her resume, would you accept it, or discipline (even terminate) that individual?

5)      I will find ways to create deeper meaning behind our work, for our employees.  Working to increase company or shareholder value may be exciting for senior execs whose bonuses are closely tied to these metrics.  But, what about the rest of your company employees?  Having a noble purpose that inspires can be a key to unleashing extra energy from your people.  Helping discover what this is can pay big dividends to them and you.

6)      I will show my team members how much they are appreciated and valued.  It matters not how old or self-confident one is: being deliberately appreciated is a big deal. Companies like Zappos and Google have raised employee appreciation to a high level.   You needn’t spend the kind of money they do on company ski trips, free food, or massages, however–mostly you can demonstrate appreciation in ways that cost you little money.  Saying “Thank You” should be one of the most potent tools in your tool-kit.

7)      I will allow and encourage my people to solve more problems and make more decisions by themselves.  You likely got where you are because you are a good analyst and decision maker.  So it is natural that you see that as how you add value to the enterprise.   The problem is that the more decisions you make, the less your team members will grow by themselves.  Think of you job more as creating work environments where they CAN make effective decisions, rather than being the ultimate decision maker yourself.

8)      I will not tolerate individuals who disrespect the team . . . no matter what.  One of the most demoralizing things you can do is look the other way when one employee behaves in a way that undermines the team, its values, your leadership, and the organizational mission.  HR might say that you haven’t enough information to take action, and the offending person may be a strong individual contributor.    These things do not matter when the whole team feels betrayed.  It is YOUR JOB to step up, push against the bureaucracy, and do what is in the best interest of the team.

9)      I will speak truth to power.   We see things every day that could be improved or that seem completely wrong.  If you allow your fears to stop you from trying to push for positive change, then you should turn in your leadership badge.   You should be respectful and constructive in your efforts, but persistent.

10)   I will spread the joy that I find in my leadership wherever and whenever I can.  If you are leading because it is what you were “meant for”, and you mostly jump out of bed each day eagerly anticipating your arrival at work, then you should let this enthusiasm and passion show.  It can be infectious.  It can help you build momentum.

So Happy New Year to you from all of us at Xavier Leadership Center.  Live well, and lead well.


1 Comment

Filed under Leading, Personal Leadership

One response to “Happy New Year and Lead Well

  1. Pingback: 7 Tips for Team Leaders « Martin Webster, Esq.

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