We do it every single December.
Customarily, in the post Christmas lull, we busy ourselves making a list of resolutions for the upcoming year. At one time or another, we all have made the resolution for weight loss, cessation of some bad habit, or a promise to yourself to be more organized.
All are worthy of pursuit, and I really do hope you lose those 20 pounds in 2018.
Though, even as leaders, too often we neglect resolve to be a better leader, which affects all those other resolutions anyway.
Looking toward 2018, I challenge you (and really I challenge myself) to resolve to be a legacy leader in the following three ways:
1. Resolve to engage with others - Stop multitasking when, as a leader, you should respect people enough to give them your attention. Multitasking when you should be engaged with someone, doesn’t make you more efficient, it gives others reason to disengage from you.
Having 25 windows open on your computer, while working, doesn’t offend the other open windows. The same cannot be said when you do the equivalent to the people you lead.
When you multitask, instead of being engaged with the person right in front of you, you make them feel less important and that you’re uninterested in them. Do that enough times, and the brilliant mind in front of your face will stop bringing you their best ideas and solutions, and they’ll take those ideas and solutions elsewhere.
You want good people in your life to bring you their best, so treat them like you’re actually trying to keep them. Don’t text, email, or start a conversation with someone else. Give that person your undivided attention; if you don’t you’re wasting their time and yours—and that is a recipe for people to be less likely to follow you as a leader.
2. Resolve to be understanding - We all can stand to be a better listener (alright, I can stand to be a better listener!). So instead of just focusing on being a better listener, let's resolve to be understanding. Oh I listen (sometimes). And I hate to admit this, but too often I listen just enough to line up my own responses in my head.
Instead of just listening to respond, I challenge you (and ME) to listen to really understand. Your response is meaningless anyway if you don’t understand what someone is actually saying and what they really need. In the listening—the actual listening to understand—you will more fully comprehend the situation and the person who is talking. In turn, you will know how to lead better in the given situation and inspire others to follow.
3. Resolve to be a leader you want your people to emulate - Do you want the people around you to act like you do? Be honest with yourself. The reality of being a leader is someone is always watching you—everything you do—for how you respond (or rashly react), how you talk to others, how you make decisions. Everything!
As a leader, you are the barometer for how others should behave. They are watching you to see what is acceptable. And if you don’t want them to imitate your behavior, you need to change it. You are responsible for the health of your organization. So if you see unhealthy behavior, ask yourself if they learned it from you.
How will you make your resolutions stick throughout the year? Get others involved. Designate a few trusted people this year to be honest with you and call you out when you deviate from the above leadership resolutions. Which means, you have to give them permission to give you feedback, without fear of repercussion, and you have to be ready to hear it.
If you resolve to engage with others, resolve to be understanding, and resolve to be the leader you want your people to emulate, I have a feeling you’ll be more at peace as a person and more inspiring as a leader.
Happy New Year! Lets make 2018 the best one yet.
For more leadership inspiration, listen to Dan's leadership podcast, Garage to Goliath | Leaders Building Legacies.