As the year winds down, most people are thinking about wrapping up end-of-year tasks, sending holiday cards to clients, and, of course, attending holiday parties. But good leaders don’t just think about today — they think about where the company and team need to be in the next year. That’s why so many leaders take time to plan the future direction of the team by setting new year’s resolutions.
Set Resolutions, Not Goals
As you think about starting the new year by bringing more leadership and motivation into the workplace, focus on resolutions instead of goals.
What’s the difference? A resolution is a commitment to do — or not do — something, change your behavior, or adopt a new positive attitude. In other words, it’s a qualitative measure.
Goals, on the other hand, are quantitative. Goals include target numbers, deadlines, and other measurements of success. They’re also shorter-lived than resolutions. Once you achieve a goal, you don’t have to think about it again — unless you set a new plan.
That isn’t to say that setting effective goals isn’t necessary. Instead, resolutions and goals work together to help you achieve what you want.
For example, suppose you make a resolution to read more leadership books. A related goal could be to read one or two books each month.
Think of resolutions as destinations and goals as the way to get there. That’s why setting leadership resolutions is so important — without a destination in mind, it’s harder to set reasonable goals.
If you’re looking for inspiration on leadership resolutions to set for yourself, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together five leadership resolutions everyone should consider for the coming new year.
1. Stay Healthy
You’re probably thinking, “What does my health have to do with leadership?” The answer is, “More than you think.”
Healthier people can focus more, think more clearly, and have more energy. They’re even less likely to get sick. All of these benefits can help you perform at your highest level as a leader.
Staying healthy includes paying attention to:
- Your diet: Eat a diet rich in the nutrients you need.
- Your sleep: Make sure you’re getting enough high-quality sleep each night if you want to be a better leader.
- Your fitness: You don’t have to turn into a bodybuilder or marathoner, but do some exercise and physical activity every day.
The better you can focus on the immediate task at hand, the better leader you’ll be. But what about the other urgent tasks on your plate? Don’t be afraid to delegate them.
Delegating doesn’t just help you better manage your day and prevent burnout. It also helps build a good relationship with your team members by building trust and providing an opportunity for professional growth.
As you make your resolution to delegate more, here are some tips on how to effectively delegate tasks to your team:
- Understand the needs and expectations of the assignment so you can clearly communicate them
- Pick the right person on your team for the task
- Check in on progress, but don’t micromanage
3. Say “No” (Constructively)
As a workplace leader, you know that everyone’s looking to you for guidance and support. It’s easy to get caught in a flurry of requests for help. Saying “no” will make you look like an unsupportive leader, right? Not necessarily.
A lot of leaders want to say “no,” but end up saying “yes” only because they’re not sure how to turn down a request without looking weak or unsupportive.
Here are some tips on saying “no” in a way that’s constructive and that helps you stay firm:
- Ask for more information: Before making a decision, know what the task is, what the deadlines are, and why this request is important. That way, your team will see that you’re genuinely interested in helping.
- Communicate your priorities: Your employees juggle priorities all the time, and they’ll understand that you have your own priorities to manage. Communicating your priorities will make it easier for everyone to agree that you can’t commit to another task right now.
- Suggest an alternative: Saying “no” doesn’t mean that the task isn’t important or that it’s a bad idea. Show that you support the request by offering to do it another time or suggest someone else who might be able to help.
- Not all ideas are good ones: Helping an eager employee learn to distinguish between good ideas and ones that aren’t feasible is a way to mentor your team. Refocusing your employee on a more helpful task is a great teaching moment.
4. Keep Up Good Communication
If you’ve spent the year improving healthy communication with your employees, congratulations! You’ve worked hard to get this far, and now it’s time to make sure your team keeps up the good work. Good communication requires constant attention and effort, which is why you should have this in your leadership resolution list.
There are plenty of ways to improve your communication skills, including:
- Adapting your communication style to match other people in the conversation
- Asking open-ended questions
- Practicing active listening skills
- Asking for and giving constructive feedback
5. Promote Positive Change
If your business is going through a big change, such as a restructuring or M&A, this resolution is a must.
Change affects everyone, and everyone copes with change in their own way. Make the change in your company as smooth as possible by following these simple tips:
- Understand what the change will achieve
- Assess your current team: who has easily adapted to change before? Who needed extra support?
- Show that you’re personally committed to the change
- Communicate the purpose of the change
How to Succeed in Your Leadership Resolutions
We’ve all done it — we’re excited and motivated after setting our New Year’s resolutions in December, only to forget all about them by February or March. The good news is that there are ways to help you keep those resolutions the whole year.
Tell Your Team
Making your leadership resolutions public makes it harder to simply back out of them. It’s also a good idea for the team. Now, your employees will know that you’re committing to improving your life and theirs — a great way to inspire leadership and motivation in the workplace.
By sharing your resolutions with your team, you also create a support network that can make sure you’re prioritizing your resolutions and help you along the way.
As the year progresses, check in on your resolutions every month or two. What have you done to work toward your resolution? What were some setbacks? Feel free to reward yourself for positive progress while thinking about how to overcome setbacks the next time they appear.
This is also a great opportunity to build your relationship with your employees. Take some time in your next team meeting to share their resolutions and progress. When everyone shares their professional resolutions, it encourages team members to support each other and work better together.
New Year’s Resolutions Are a Leader’s Best Friend
Great leaders are, by nature, great planners. That’s why it’s important to take the time now to set meaningful leadership resolutions that will help set the direction for your team and your business.
From the entire Confie team, we want to wish you a Happy New Year!