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Top 10 New year resolutions every leader should make
Leadership Development

Top 10 New year resolutions every leader should make

HR blogs
Aishwarya Sinha Ray
March 15, 2022
Human Resource Management Platform

The start of the year is a time when many of us look forward to improving both the personal and professional front of our lives. Most of the time the greatest challenge is knowing what it's going to take to make this desire a reality. Every business leader has a lot to do in the coming future if they want businesses to improve. Need some help with your resolutions for the next year? Here are the Top 10 New year resolutions every leader should make. Sticking to these resolutions in the new year will not only help you become a better leader but will also be valuable outside the workplace.

Top 10 New year resolutions every leader should make | peopleHum

Top 10 New year resolutions every leader should make

1. Understand accountability

Accountability is an often-misunderstood concept. The most recurrent 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 and utilised to grow as a person as well as a leader.

Why is it important?

As a business leader, you can only hold someone accountable as long as you're willing to put in the effort from your side as well. The moment you take the pressure off, accountability vanishes. This kind of technique can work towards short-term goals, but it's neither efficient nor sustainable.

How can you improve?

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

2. Build trust

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

Why is it important?

In order to give employees the autonomy, they need 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 just as much.

How can you improve?

Start by analyzing your work environment—not just the physical environment (although that is definitely an important factor) but the overall environment. Policies and processes are just as much a part of the work environment as the walls and desks. What types of things is this environment implicitly and explicitly stating about trust levels within your organizational culture? Are you fostering a balanced work culture?

Identify actions, policies, and procedures that don't indicate trust, and consider whether they're truly necessary.

3. Be a facilitator

The best business leaders are the ones who also facilitate. They don't instruct an employee what to do. Instead, they give employees the tools (and sometimes limitations) they require, to do their absolute best work.

Why is it important?

For employees to reach the stage of self-realization, they need to feel supported and motivated. A great orchestra requires a great conductor because the conductor facilitates the pace, direction, and harmony of an already extremely talented group, and something extraordinary comes out of it.

How to improve?

Take a step back and think about scenarios where you might better serve your team by facilitating the work they're already doing, and the efforts they're already spending. They'll thank you for it while you'll have eliminated a source of stress in your job, and your plate will be less full in the long run.

4. Be a better communicator

You cannot be a good facilitator if you are not a good listener, and any great business leader must express themselves clearly.

Why is it important?

Whether it's communication between you and your significant other or between you and your team, you'll never achieve your most desired goals without healthy communication.

How can you improve?

Two trucks can't cross paths in opposite directions on the same road, and two people can't effectively express themselves and listen simultaneously at the same time. So make it a point to pull over regularly, and give others a chance to pass before heading around the next turn.

5. Break down barriers

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

Why is it important?

Have you ever heard anyone express their gratitude for having run up against a series of silos or other pointless barriers towards a goal they were going they were working on? When was the last time someone exclaimed, "I love communicating and sharing documents exclusively through reply-all email chains!" to their co-workers?

How can you improve?

Although it might seem like a challenge, this one is a piece of cake. Once you make a resolution to break down barriers across your organization, you'll be addicted — and nobody is going to schedule an intervention—in fact, people around you will thank you for it.

Some things you can do are:

  • Think about the tools you and your team use. Are they creating an unnecessary barrier to communication or collaboration? There are some great modern alternatives out there, for such tools.
  • Find ways to hold more efficient, productive and enjoyable meetings (or remove unnecessary ones).
  • Seek out silos and consider whether they're truly important. (they're probably not).
  • Plan time to build a healthy community within your organization—it's essential.

6. Recognize all contributions, large and small

Frequent recognition for your team is one of the most important steps to becoming a better business leader. Your team needs to know that you value their contributions towards the company’s development—this goes for everyone on the team, from the intern to even the senior executives.

Why is it important?

Each contribution to the team is valuable, and taking the time to express that value, can have an amazing impact on employee engagement as well as retention. Employees who are putting in their best efforts need to be recognized for that effort, otherwise, you're denying them an incentive that is relative to their salary.

Think about it this way: salary is 100% changeable—your salary dollars are wholly replaceable with your competitor's salary dollars. What is irreplaceable? The way an employee feels about the work they do, and the people, the organization they do it for.

How can you improve?

Recognizing each and every contribution might seem like a Sisyphean task, but it's not. It's more of a Herculean task if you think about it. Bear with me now:

Sisyphus was compelled to push an enormous stone up a massive hill, only to watch it roll back down the hill, then rinse and repeat for perpetuity. There was no breathing space for him.

Hercules was burdened with a similarly enormous task. Eurystheus charged Hercules with the unthinkably huge task of cleaning up the stables of King Augeas, who owned more cattle than anyone in the city, in a single day. Instead of grabbing a pitchfork and shovel and digging into the manure, Hercules dug multiple channels into the ground near the river, diverting it through the stables and flushing them all out and clean in one day.

Think like Hercules, and make recognition easier. Avoid the head-on approach by using easier tools like peer recognition. Peer-to-peer recognition enables your team to recognize one another and be recognized for, all the great work and contributions that happens on a day-to-day basis from their side. The people employees work with most closely are more likely to see and feel the impact of those contributions and the effort it took to complete it.

7. Celebrate and reward small improvements

New Year resolutions are all about celebrating and facilitating growth on all fronts, whether that's personal, professional, or otherwise. But why limit that mindset of appreciation and celebration to once a year?

Why is it important?

Growth is unfathomably valuable, and it will not happen overnight. It's important to take time to reward and recognize even small, but positive steps that are taken forward. After all, those small steps are what add up to the huge impact.

How can you improve?

Make sure you're not only recognizing growth but facilitating and encouraging it too.

That could come in multiple forms, by providing professional development opportunities, lunch-and-learns, certification courses, mentorship programs—trust me, the list is endless and it's only limited by your creativity and thought process.

The most essential thing to do is consistently ask yourself, "What kind of growth opportunities am I providing to my team, how can I improve on these, and how can I make sure we're celebrating even the small steps my colleagues take toward being more awesome?"

8. Do one thing that scares you

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

Why is it important?

Once you've done something you were afraid of (and assumedly lived through the process), you'll have less to fear. Although the danger is real, fear is an entirely mental construct and it's usually unwarranted. Facing your fears will help you to confidently guide others too, through similar situations of fear and hesitance.

The number of times you face your fears, the more you'll realize that.

How can you improve?

There's only one way to improve this situation: just go and do it.

Find that one thing you've been avoiding to do and tackle it—don't give up until you’ve walked away victorious. It can be, but doesn't necessarily have to be work-related—the confidence you gain out of this will translate either way. Maybe it's changing the serpentine belt in your car by yourself, sleeping without a night light, or doing your taxes yourself. Whatever it is, go do it, then find the next challenge to win over.

9. Stay true

This is one of the most important ones. Stay true to yourself, true to your team, and true to your company's goals. When those things don't align, it becomes incredibly difficult for anyone to thrive.

Why is it important?

Your team will need a solid leader to rally around. If you're flip-flopping on decisions, and regularly changing your tune on important issues, it is going to become corrosive to that trusting relationship you've worked so hard to build so far.

How to improve?

Be that strong foundation your team can rely upon. This doesn't imply sticking to your decisions even when you realize they are bad decisions. It's more about upholding a positive and unwavering standard that others can look up to.

10. Have more fun

If you're never having fun at work, you're mostly in the wrong profession. Yes, work isn't always going to be a laugh every minute—that's one of the main reasons you get paid to do it—but it's important to have fun too, and if it seems there's none to be had, make sure to make some.

Why is it important?

If you're not having fun, there's a good chance that's going to be the same experience you are team members are having. Enjoying work is a major factor in affecting how long employees will be willing to do it, and how much they will demand in return for sticking around.

How to improve?

You don't have to necessarily, install a pinball machine and hold office flip cup championships to encourage fun, but it has to be there in some form or another. You might find it in the unlikeliest of places, as a matter of fact. The most important thing to do from your end is to look for it. If you find it, do share it. If it's not there, why not create it.

Next steps

Now's the perfect time to resolve to become a better business leader as well as a better colleague. Try a combination of these Top 10 New year resolutions — or maybe all of them—and let us know how it pans out.

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October 25, 2021

A very inspiring list. Thanks for putting this together


October 25, 2021

This is such a great list of women leaders! More power to you all

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