While many people consider a brand new year to be a completely blank slate, it is more helpful and accurate to view it as a new chapter in a book. It is not completely separate from past performance or experience, but it does provide an excellent opportunity for change and improvement.
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. The following are ten New Year’s Resolutions every leader should make for 2017 and beyond:
10). Stop micromanaging your employees.
Micromanaging is problematic for many reasons. It keeps employees from truly engaging with their work, and it also keeps you from being able to accurately evaluate their skills. Micromanaging also feeds a dangerous cycle of creating employees that need to be micromanaged, which means you’ll never be free of the problem. Let your employees do the work that they were hired to do.
9). Prevent toxic work environments by creating a positive culture and engagement
No one wants to work in a toxic work environment — especially top talent. Make sure your environment supports a positive atmosphere by being positive yourself, encouraging positive language, and rewarding employees for positive contributions.
8). Explore non-traditional benefits
Gifts and bonuses are no longer the motivators they once were. Explore different ways to reward your employees by offering extra time off, dedicated volunteer service days, the ability to work on a project outside their normal work duties, offering wellness classes, or vouchers for house cleaning or laundry services.
7). Connect individual goals to organizational goals
Engaging in discussions with your team members about their individual goals gives you an opportunity to connect individual aspirations with the goals of the organization. This is extremely valuable so that employees can see the relevance of company goals in their daily lives.
6). Offer more work/life balance options
Work/life balance is one of the top indicators of workplace success and satisfaction. Are there any ways that you can help your team members achieve the balance that will make them more productive at home? Examples might include allowing employees days to work from home, scheduling early release days, or offering meditation or wellness breaks during the day.
5). Lead by example
Be the kind of employee you want to have on your team. If you expect reliability, dedication, transparency, and positivity, then you should make sure that your daily behaviors and attitudes reflect those values. People can’t be what they don’t see, so make sure that your employees see a model of leadership in you.
4). Provide more learning and growth opportunities
Humans are hardwired to want to learn and grow. Make sure you support that innate human desire by providing opportunities for your team to grow. Some examples are paying for employees to attend conferences, creating an in-house professional development program, starting an office work club, and giving employees the chance to lead workshops.
3). Be an active listener
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.
2). Give constant feedback. Don’t just wait for annual review time
Share areas of strength as well as opportunities for improvement with your staff. The more consistent you are with your feedback, the more consistent they will be with their performance.
1). Say thank you more often.
This is the easiest form of feedback that makes a world of difference. When possible, be as specific as possible with your gratitude, so employees know the value that they bring to the team.
All of these resolutions are reflective of one common objective: to continue to strive to be a better leader. Here’s to 2017 being your best year yet!