Leadership Lessons

Leadership Resolutions for the New Year

Adapted from an article by Scott Edinger, available at http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottedinger/

While we are busy making resolutions to better ourselves for the coming year, an area that doesn’t receive enough focus is to be resolute about becoming a better leader. Sure we have resolutions for weight loss, cessation of bad habits, and getting more organized, but few leaders actually resolve to become, better leaders. Many of us have the desire to achieve more, and if you are in a leadership capacity of any kind, even as an individual contributor, there are few things that you control that will help you to achieve those goals as much as improving your leadership ability.

So here are a list of items you can resolve to do in order to become a better leader.
  • Don’t forget your strengths. We tend to think of making improvements by correcting weaknesses, yet the best leaders stand out with the presence of great strengths. That is not to say that correcting a weakness or fixing a flaw isn’t useful, but think about the best leaders you have worked with and odds are, they were excellent because of something they did profoundly well. Consider your strong points and how to leverage and build on them.
  • Stop multi-tasking when engaging with another person. Having multiple windows open while working on a computer doesn’t offend other open windows. Yet doing the same when people are involved has the effect of leaving them feeling they are less important. When engaging with other people, don’t email, text, or pay attention to someone else. Provide your undivided attention.
  • Be the role model of key behaviors. You are being watched. All the time. Everything you do. No, it is not big brother; it is the reality of being a leader. People are paying close attention to your behaviors to determine what is acceptable and what is not.
  • Manage your own energy levels to keep them high. Emotions have a contagion effect and your energy levels do as well. While you don’t need to be fired up at all times, having energy will increase the influence you have on others and promote stronger levels of engagement from your team. You will also find that this increases your productivity.
  • Demonstrate care and concern for others. Leadership is after all about improving organizations. It is hard to lead effectively if people do not sense that you care. Leadership is a relational skill and it depends entirely on how others interact with you. Whether they interact with you through others, or directly, look for opportunities to show that you care.

Resolving to become a better leader this year will yield great results for you in both the short and long term. Not all of these resolutions may be for you, but perhaps you can find one or two that will make the difference this year. Happy New Year!

Each month, the HR Center for Learning and Leadership spotlights an excerpt from a leadership publication.

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