New Year’s Resolution: Become A Better Leader!

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by Rand O’Leary

In all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, its easy to forget that in just a few weeks most of us will be looking at the New Year and a list of resolutions or promises that we have made to ourselves that we hope to accomplish.  Some of our old favorites are bound to make the list, lose some weight, exercise, give more to charity, get back in touch with family or old friends. 

But what about including in this year’s list the commitment to be a better leader next year?

Research tells us that when we write our goals down, we are far more likely to achieve them, so begin the year by taking a good hard look at what is means to be a leader, remember, you may have the title but being the leader of people requires these fundamental building blocks, can you complete these?

1.       Vision: All successful leaders have a clear vision and a steadfast belief in where they are going, and they hold fast to this vision through good times and bad.  This is especially true in sports, where rarely does a one game loss make a season.  In business it could be a major expansion of the company, increased market share and improved financial performance. Whatever it is, be clear and do not waiver once the journey begins.

Q: What does your vision look like?

2.       Have a Plan:  Once you have locked in on the vision, it’s critically important for you to work with your team to develop the necessary steps that will get you there.  Your mantra should be to keep it simple, make it memorable and ensure absolute clarity among the team on roles and responsibilities to get us there. 

Q: What is your plan for team success this year?

3.       Be the Example:  Plans are not worth the paper they are printed on if the leader doesn’t follow by example.  As leaders we are always under the microscope, and people listen to what we say, but more importantly they watch what we do.  Nothing undermines the success and trust within a team more than a leader who talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk. 

Q: How do you set an example? What shadow does your leadership cast?

4.       Have Core Values:  As a leader, you will need to make tough decisions, that impact your team and people in many ways, sometimes negatively.  I have centered my life, both personal and professional around a set of core values that are important to me:

a.       Do the right thing (always)

b.       Do my absolute best every day

c.       Care about each other

Having your core values defined, will help give you and your team the strength and resiliency when the difficult decisions come your way.

Q: What are your core values? Do you have them written down, does your team know what they are?

So in closing, this is the time of year for celebration and promises, and my wish for you is that you take the time to make a promise to yourself and become the best leader you can be in 2019, it’s going to be a great year!