Best New Year’s Resolutions for Leaders

Resolutions in Planner
Resolutions in Planner

With less than 3 weeks until 2020, it’s a great time to start envisioning the positive changes you want to experience next year. Start the next decade on the right foot by bringing the best version of yourself to your team. Whether you’re new to a leadership role or have a cupboard full of “World’s Best Boss” mugs, there is always room for improvement. Whether you’re committing to learn something new, narrowing your blind spots, or venturing outside of your comfort zone, your employees will recognize and respect the effort.

Here are a few New Year’s Resolution ideas to consider for leaders in 2020:

Vocalize appreciation every day. Some people believe that if you say thank you too often, it dilutes the meaning behind the words. I couldn’t disagree more. It’s far more likely that we fail to appreciate the efforts of others than to over-recognize them. I was at Target recently right after they’d opened and caught a manager standing in a circle with her team. I listened in as each employee went around the circle expressing gratitude for another team member’s contributions. Big or small, each person found a way to thank another for their help. With the pressure on retail during the holiday shopping season, it would be very easy for this leader to abandon this stand-up meeting and have everyone jump straight into addressing inventory, but if she did, would those employees have received the message of appreciation? Sometimes we need to schedule moments of gratitude because they’re too important to leave up to spontaneity.

Be a role model. This resolution is broad and needs to be refined based on your organization’s needs, but the idea is to model the behavior you want to see in your team. Perhaps you want your team to take ownership of their mistakes. Then you need to be accountable and share the mistakes you’ve made. Or, if you want your employees to experience better work-life balance, then take your vacation days. And stop sending emails on the evenings and weekends. Be present and mindful. Your employees will take your lead and feel empowered to make healthier choices based on what they see from you.

Learn something new. You can’t expect your employees to invest in their own self-development if they don’t see you working on a development journey yourself. Pick something that interests, challenges, or scares you and commit to it for 2020. Most importantly, share your experiences with your team including goals, lessons learned, challenges, and growth.

Get out of the minutia. Empower your team to make decisions, solve problems, and resolve minor conflicts by not getting involved. This, of course, doesn’t mean you are stepping away from your responsibilities. Instead, trust that your team will make effective decisions based on what they’ve learned from you. Be transparent about your intent to micro-manage less so it’s clear to everyone that they’re being given an opportunity to take on more responsibility, while you’re focused on the best use of your time.

No matter what New Year’s Resolution you choose, be transparent about your plans. Ask your team to give you feedback along the way and hold you accountable. Challenge them to make their own professional development New Year’s resolutions, so everyone is committed to making 2020 a fantastic year.