New Year’s Resolutions for Leaders: Three Ways to Increase Your Impact in 2017

shutterstock_62795851New Year’s Resolutions: probably the most broken promises in the world, next to campaign promises! But if you’re a leader who believes your word matters, there are ways to keep your feet on the ground, your head in your vision, and your integrity matched with your goals. Here are three kinds of resolutions that will build your leadership power in 2017.

Resolve to do something that will make an immediate difference to the people around you.

This one requires a simple and focused goal, something you can accomplish in a week or less. For example, if you own a business, and you want your cubicle-land employees to feel better about work, enliven the space with live plants or full spectrum light bulbs to make it healthier and more humane. Or bring in a specialist in ergonomics and offer her support for employees to prevent common workplace aches and pains like carpal tunnel or sore backs. This kind of service leadership makes a difference because it shows people you care about them, which builds loyalty and a healthier work place.

Resolve to do something that will change a behavior you know weakens your leadership effectiveness.

This one requires self-awareness and honesty, and a little self-discipline, but it will make a world of difference in your leadership! Start with a behavior you know, in your heart of hearts, holds you back as a leader. Do you interrupt too much? Do you get punchy when you have too much coffee (and do you always drink too much coffee in the afternoon?)? I believe we all know something that feels small to us, but big to others.

Choose one thing, and make a plan to practice daily to be aware and change the behavior when you can. Take a deep breath and count to five when you feel the urge to interrupt. Apologize when you do, and ask the person to finish their thought. Replace the third cup of coffee with a glass of water. Choose one simple shift and practice it until it becomes second nature. You’ll be amazed at how your leadership effectiveness improves.

Resolve to get input from your followers about a change that will help them in 2017.

This one only requires an open heart and mind, and a strategy to meet with followers, in a meeting or one-on-one, to listen to their “wish list.” Of course, it also requires you to be a leader who believes in service and support. That said, suppose any leader unwilling to make resolutions to improve their leadership effectiveness or the health and well being of their followers isn’t much of a leader at all. So if you’re still reading this blog, you’re probably willing and able to make this third resolution work for you and your followers.

Choose one idea you can take action on in the first quarter of 2017, and make a plan, either yourself or with a team from your followers. If none of the ideas is immediately possible, break the best one down and do part of it. Make sure you follow through, because if you don’t, you’re wasting an opportunity and building cynicism about your sincerity. Keep the other ideas on their “wish list” as follow-up opportunities to improve your organization.

These three easy resolutions will open up your relationships, build leadership skills, and make 2017 a better year for you and the people who depend on you.

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