This article appeared in print as part of “Ask & Give: Female Entrepreneurs Rally in Columbia” Growing up, it didn’t take long for Liz...
Welcome to 2016! Most people make resolutions when a new year rolls around. We vow to eat better, lose weight, exercise more or give up something like smoking. Most of these promises last, at best, to Valentine’s Day. Around six weeks, the pain of change becomes too intense, and we succumb to old habits and break the resolution we were so convinced we could achieve.
The thing to keep in mind is that adopting resolutions is not just about goal setting or promises. What your objective really revolves around is behavior change. The length of time you’ve been practicing certain behaviors is equivalent to how hard it will be to alter those behaviors.
Perhaps you remember the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”? The character Brooks, portrayed by James Whitmore, has been in prison most of his adult life in the film. Once he gets paroled into the world outside the prison walls, he finds it hard to change his behaviors to adapt and cope with his new world.
As leaders, some of our own behaviors have become institutionalized, and we may find it hard to change them. But what the heck — it’s a new year and an opportunity to grow ourselves and get better, so here are eight leadership resolutions for your consideration:
The best way to build an organization is by getting the best positive people. Your true leverage occurs through the abilities and talents of the people on your team. If you want to get the best, plan on compensating them well. Turnover is always costly. Make sure they have a positive outlook and attitude on life and work.
As an addendum to the previous resolution, you cannot afford chronic negativity. Too much negativity is a team and organization killer. It doesn’t matter how talented someone is — if they are negative and spread negativity, they will cost you more than they help you gain. Everyone has a bad day from time to time, but chronic negativity is not healthy and beyond your scope of help as a leader. Get some relief for your team and yourself. Take action on this today.
Face it: multitasking causes you to be less productive, not more. Being super busy does not equal productivity. You may simply be addicted to chaos and adrenaline, and you mask it by calling it multitasking. Turn off everything that distracts you and commit to focusing on things that move the proverbial needle.
I wanted to say 50, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you right away! Deal with indecision in your inbox. Look at an email once, and make a decision on what to do with it. Put it in a folder for follow up, take action or delete it. Take some time to sort through all your old emails and do one of those three things, then manage forward. Try to get to no more than 50 in your inbox by July 1.
Some things can only grow in a healthy way by pruning them back. What items on your list can be pruned back or eliminated? Leave only the strongest strategic items on which you can give your full focus. Start with yourself, and then help your team with this.
Consistent journaling is a leadership best practice. Getting all the thoughts out of your head and on paper is a way to clear out your mind and focus. Your brain is designed to have ideas, not hold ideas. You will be amazed how much better you feel walking around without so much in your conscious thoughts. Also, it’s a great way to check on your progress with these behavior changes.
Make sure you are running your organization, rather than it running you. When you are low on energy and overwhelmed, you are not furthering your cause. Make a small list of things that make you happy and relaxed, and do them more often this year.
Many people who don’t like to be controlled allow others to control them through unforgiveness. Let it go and let them go. Allow relief and peace of mind to help you to stay energized and succeed.