It’s that time of the year when all of us make fervent vows to become better and do better in the future. As we look ahead in 2021, here are 10 resolutions that will help any leader navigate the path to success in the New Year.
Stop Your Phone From Stealing your Time
Ever so gradually, we are being enslaved by a device that was originally designed to liberate us. Starting today, vow to take the reins of your smartphone and safeguard the time it is stealing from you. Start with your social media apps. Say goodbye to those that don’t fulfill some purpose in your life or contribute to your happiness.
Next, distance yourself from ‘always-on’ work emails and don’t check your emails more than thrice a day. By redefining your relationship with your phone, you will be better able to focus on things that need your attention. You can always use the extra time to explore, write a story, meditate, read a book, learn a second language or a new skill, or draw something. Creativity and curiosity are the workplace superpowers of this year, and you need to save your precious time to hone your creative side.
Spend Less Time in Meetings
Let’s face it: Meetings are the biggest productivity killers and yet many leaders spend far too much time in meetings than they should. The reason you end up burning the midnight oil or work weekends is because you couldn’t get any real work done during the working hours, probably because you were busy in meetings. Take your last month’s schedule and notice all the meetings you had in that month and the time they stole from your day.
Now, try to recall what those meetings were for. Chances are, you won’t even remember a single thing from any of those meetings, unless they were an annual off-site, a brainstorming sitting to launch a major product, or a strategy planning session. You will realize how enormous a chunk of your time was consumed by the drivel of meetings that served no real purpose. Starting today, cut those meetings in half, or even less, and get your life back on track.
Delegate More Effectively
If goes without saying that great leaders know how to prioritize and focus on the task at hand. However, there are numerous benefits of effective delegating. Delegating to your subordinates is way more than simply assigning someone a task. When you provide your employees with autonomy, you demonstrate your trust and confidence in their ability. This empowers your direct reports and helps them develop as leaders in the long run. Not to mention, effective delegation enhances the creativity, communication skills, and innovation of your employees.
Effective delegation not only encourages professional growth but also leaves your hands free to focus on the most important leadership issues that matter to your organization. Before you delegate a task to an employee, understand why you are delegating so that you can better articulate your expectation, make sure you play to the strengths of employees and delegate the right tasks to the right people, be sure to communicate the meaning of the task clearly, and share the process.
Be a Better Communicator
A good leader needs to express themselves clearly. Without establishing healthy communication with your team, you will never be able to achieve your most ambitious goals. Think of it this way; you can’t possibly express yourself and listen at the same time. You need to be a good listener to become a facilitator and vice versa.
If two trucks can’t cross paths in opposite directions, why not pull over from time to time and allow others to pass before heading around the next bend. You may already have excellent communication with your team, and keep them in the loop and apprised of changes in your organizational hierarchy. But you can always go the extra mile and do something more. Leaders should aim to improve communication with their team so that every member can do their best while feeling a sense of connection with you.
With remote work becoming the new norm, you should aim to keep your team integrated in order to obtain the best results. With such a scattered team, communication can take a downturn. This is why it is more important than ever to keep your lines of communication open. Remember to check in periodically with your team members, find out if they facing any challenges, encourage them, and try to bring your team members together virtually as often as possible.
Visualize Your Goals
As part of your New Year goals for 2021, establish your goals for the New Year and set a course for your destination. Clarity of vision is the first rung of the ladder. You need to have a deep comprehension of what you want to achieve, picture it in your mind’s eye, and conjure up the feeling of euphoria and reward you will feel when you have accomplished that goal. If you can visualize it, you can most probably achieve it. Not to mention, the mere act of visualizing goals is highly motivational and drives one to work harder.
The more clearly you can envision yourself savoring the rewards, you more strongly you will be driven toward them. This increased determination boosts the chances of success and takes our focus off the roadblocks and pains we will experience along the way.
Lead Your Team through Change
If there is one thing the pandemic taught us all, it is that change is inevitable, and the best we can do as leaders is to navigate change for ourselves, as well as lead our teams effectively through change. A lot of leaders recognize the change but act too slow in adapting to it. Vow to overcome the inertia by knowing what you want to achieve, observing the current state of your organization and team, accepting that change doesn’t implement itself until you take preemptive action, communicate your intent again and again so that your team is on the same page, show your personal commitment to the change, allow them a sneak-peak into your vision, and reward those who are willing to move forward with you.
Improve Your Virtual Persona
If like most people, you have been working from home for the past year, you must be familiar with the “zoom fatigue.” After having endured almost a year of virtual communications, it still feels exhausting to communicate only through screens. Between struggling to make eye contact and fixing bad internet connections, all the while making sure our body language and facial expressions express our engagement and enthusiasm, we can feel drained out. As a part of improving communication with your team, you need to improve your virtual persona by focusing on three key areas: composure, receptivity, and immediacy. Your goal should be to resonate with your audience and overcome the physical distances.
Prioritize Self Care
You can’t function at your best if you are mentally, physically, or emotionally drained. As a leader, you need your mindset and energy to perform to the best of abilities. Strengthen your resilience by practicing self-care, such as regular workout, managing pressure so it doesn’t turn into negative stress, getting enough eye-shut through the night, eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet, maintaining social connection, and encouraging your employees to do the same in order to prevent burnout.
Your team looks up to you and the best way of inculcating good habits in your employees is to lead by example. Who knows how much more setbacks and disappointments we will have to face as the pandemic continues to rage on, and the world needs leaders who can find the silver lining in the worst of situations and recover quickly.
Support Your Employees’ Development and Growth
Professional development is important for everybody on your team and is the right of every employee. An employee’s success in leadership development programs depend on how much their superiors support them. This year, you too can promise to support your people. For instance, one way to support your team is to design an effective program by directly asking your subordinates their goals and ambitions. Help them get to where they want to be by identifying areas they need to focus on and how they can make the most of the opportunities they have.
Once you have set the stage for their development, disentangle them from day-to-day responsibilities so that they have the time to focus on the training. Find out what support they need from you during and after the program. Once the training program is complete, meet up with your team and discuss what they have learned, how they can apply it to their professional lives, and how you can support them in further development.
Say “NO” More Often
This year, learn to say “no” a little more frequently. Instead of trying to wear all the hats all the time, make it your goal to do less, but do it better. Doing more doesn’t always count as achievement, so this year, make “focus” and “improvement” your goals. Being more focused means that you will have to make a lot of hard choices, such as letting opportunities slip by and rubbing people the wrong way, but saying “no” from time to time will be your ticket to professional and personal success.