Were you your best leadership self in 2013? If so, do you want to keep getting better? If not, do you want a chance to make 2014 your year to shine? Here are just a few key things that you can do to be more effective and happy with your performance in 2014.
Set a clear intention. Stop being wishy washy about what you want to accomplish or where you need to improve, whether it’s clearing out your cluttered office or improving your delegation skills, so that you can free up time to be the leader you are supposed to be.
There is a difference between thinking it would be nice and setting a clear intention to do it. You don’t have to know up front HOW you will make the change. You just have to start with a clear intention.
Ask for help. Whether it’s hiring a coach to motivate you and hold you accountable or asking a mentor to teach you and show you how, recognize that the decision to ask for help is an indication of self-awareness, strength, and confidence. Strong people are determined enough to seek assistance in achieving their goals.
Resolve to tell the truth. As leaders, we are conditioned to be strong. Showing vulnerability is discouraged. While it’s probably not a good idea to walk around with your heart on your sleeve, it’s okay to candidly admit when you don’t know, or even when you are scared. Doing so helps people see us as human and allows us to get on with finding the answer or solving the problem.
Also consider the “white lies” that you tell, usually to spare the feelings of others or to avoid the unpleasantness of dealing with an issue head on. Compassion is a good thing. Subterfuge is not, as it encourages the same issues to come up time and again. Cultivate the ability to be both compassionate and courageous.
Accept responsibility. It’s so easy to blame others for our issues. It’s the constant interruptions that stop us from being focused and productive, it’s the budget cuts that prevent us from building better staff morale, it’s our nit-wit boss (or co-workers, staff, board members – You fill in the blank) that leave us feeling harried and frustrated.
But is it?
Yes, sometimes we DO need to change bosses or help staff find opportunities better suited for them. (If so, then stop whining about it and DO it.) But more often, it’s not what is done to us, but our reaction to our circumstances that is the problem. Not to sink too deeply into cliché-land (‘tis the season – it’s hard to avoid), that old adage “It’s not a problem; it’s an opportunity” is more true than you thought.
So as you approach 2014, give serious thought to what needs to change in order for you to be your best self, and resolve to be honest with yourself and others. Set your intentions and set about getting the help that you need.
Thank you for reading Leadership Perspectives, where I’ll be talking about all of this and more for leaders in 2014. In the meantime, my best wishes to you for a season of joy and peace and a happy and productive new year.