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10 Leadership Resolutions for a Successful New Year

10 Leadership Resolutions for a Successful New Year

Make These Leadership Resolutions for a Brighter New Year

If 2020 showed us anything, it’s that you can’t predict what’s on the horizon. But it’s a safe bet that change and uncertainty will continue to be major themes as we begin the new year. It’s also safe to assume that leadership will be critical for success. With that in mind, here are 10 leadership resolutions we recommend for the coming year.

Leadership Resolutions for Leading Yourself

1. Live with intention.

Our personal and professional lives often overlap — and with many of us working remotely or finding our home life upending our work life, that’s true today more than ever.

You may have to collaborate in new ways with others, including those in your household. During these times, it’s critical to keep communicating openly. Instead of becoming overwhelmed or acting out of line with your intentions, try dividing tasks by natural strengths and availability.

Where best can you invest your energy? While much can’t be controlled, there’s great power in choosing. Living with intention is about doing our best to make sure our behaviors are in line with what we value, and it’s important for both work and home life.

For more, read Living with Intention at Work and at Home.

2. Stay healthy.

In the season of New Year’s resolutions, this is a hot topic. As a leader, your personal performance — and therefore your effectiveness — is heavily influenced by your health.

Healthier people have more energy, can think more clearly, are able to focus for longer periods, and are less likely to get sick. The following key practices of good health also enhance leadership:

  • Eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet.
  • Get adequate, high-quality sleep.
  • Engage in regular physical activity.
  • Manage pressure so it doesn’t turn into negative stress.

Even if you’re feeling pressed for time, setting aside a few minutes each day to boost your resilience can help you become a more effective leader at work and home.

For more, read Make Time for Wellness to Reach Your Full Potential.

3. Hone your virtual persona.

Most work-from-home employees can identify with the popular term “Zoom fatigue.” Even after months of virtual communications, it can still feel uncomfortable or tiring to communicate only through screens. We muddle our way through bad Internet connections and try our best to make eye contact, all while hoping our words and body language communicate our enthusiasm and engagement.

By carefully crafting your virtual persona, you can strengthen the quality of your virtual communications. Focus on 3 key areas: immediacy, receptivity, and composure. The result is an increased feeling of connectedness between you and your audience.

For more, read How to Craft Your Persona for Effective Virtual Communications.

Leadership Resolutions if You’re Leading Others

4. Delegate more effectively.

It goes without saying that you’re more effective as a leader when you can prioritize and focus on the task at hand.

But have you considered the other benefits of delegating? By empowering others, for example, you demonstrate trust and help your direct reports to develop as leaders. You provide employees with autonomy, increasing their innovation, communication, and creativity.

Effective delegation goes beyond just assigning someone a task. If you view it as a cycle, you can encourage professional growth — and free your own time to focus on the leadership issues most important to you and your organization.

Focus on these 4 steps:

  • Understand why you’re delegating so you can better communicate needs and expectations.
  • Match your assignments with the appropriate people.
  • Communicate the task’s meaning.
  • Share the process.

For more, read Delegate Your Workload: Go Beyond “Getting It off Your Desk.”

5. Support your employees in their development efforts.

Professional development is important for everyone on your team. Our research has found that the primary predictor of the success of leadership development programs is the degree to which participants’ bosses support them. So, how can you support your people?

  • Set the stage for an effective program by discussing with your direct reports their goals — areas they should focus on and how they can get the most out of each opportunity.
  • Give them permission to focus fully on the training by allowing them to fully disengage from normal responsibilities.
  • Find out what support they’ll need when their program is done.
  • Follow up after the training by meeting with your team members to discuss what they learned, how they’ll apply it, and what you can do to continue supporting them.

For more, read How Bosses Can Support Their Employees’ Development.

6. Lead your team through change.

Change is the one thing we can be certain of. Not only do leaders have to navigate change for themselves, but they also have to lead their teams through change.

Even when leaders and organizations know what the change is, they may still hesitate, fail to act, or act slowly. Here’s how to overcome the inertia:

  • Know what you want to achieve.
  • Observe the current state of your team or organization.
  • Accept that this is where things are and that change won’t happen unless you take action.
  • Communicate your intent and why — again, again, and again.
  • Demonstrate your personal commitment to the change.
  • Offer a better vision based upon your intent.
  • Reward those who move forward.

For more, read How to Be a Successful Change Leader.

Leadership Resolutions if You’re Leading an Organization

7. Be a more strategic leader.

If you’re like many other managers and executives, you struggle to balance short- and long-term priorities, and need to be able to move strategies past the goal-setting stage and into the transformational stage. The ability to make that type of sustainable, organization-wide change requires leadership that is:

  • Broad in scope: Because your organization is interconnected, you understand how actions taken in one part of the organization have a ripple effect.
  • Future-focused: Strategic leaders understand how to integrate short-term results with a long-term focus.
  • Change-oriented: Making a real difference often means driving organizational change. Strategic leaders are able to ask key questions, including: What are the key drivers where we should invest our resources, time, and energy?

For more, read How to Become a Strategic Leader.

8. Nurture innovation.

Innovation is important, but few companies are really good at it. Why? In part, because leading innovation well is different from leading ongoing business operations.

Managers and individual contributors responsible for innovation need more emotional support to take the risks and give innovation efforts all their knowledge, skill, and energy.

Leaders must practice 3 critical behaviors to support and encourage innovation:

  • Demonstrate trust in innovators to empower them.
  • Keep the purpose of the innovation front-and-center to motivate, inspire, and focus innovators.
  • Partner with innovators as equals to contribute and share the risk.

For more, read: How Leaders Can Encourage Innovation Instead of Sabotaging It.

9. Build a more resilient organization.

When organizations are resilient, their people are mindfully aware of the environment, able to respond productively in the face of disruption, and willing to learn from experience.

While organizational resilience is built over time, some of the best development occurs during adversity and unplanned change. As a leader, you can help your organization to become more resilient by embedding these 3 steps in daily work life:

  • Anticipate what’s happening in the environment.
  • Empower your people to collaborate in new ways.
  • Assess your progress so that you can continuously build capability and capacity.

For more, read Steps You Can Take to Build a Resilient Organization.

10. Look for silver linings — and then share your findings.

While few of us welcome hardships, we’re all facing them to one degree or another. The good news is, tough times can be our most powerful teachers.

Whether we’re grappling with personal trauma, discrimination, failure, or career setbacks, we have an opportunity to learn 4 important lessons — if we’re open to them. Embrace these silver linings:

  • Compassion, which helps you recognize the hardships of others and motivates you to offer your support.
  • Self-awareness, which helps you make choices based on what matters, as well as your own limitations and skills.
  • An understanding of the limits of your control, which allows you to accept that some things aren’t up to you.
  • Flexibility, which helps you to be resilient in the face of change, future failures, and new challenges.

For many leaders, the crises of 2020 demanded new skills — and the environment necessitated virtual delivery systems. At CCL, we’ve experienced the hardships brought on by the pandemic in ways similar to many other organizations around the world. We’ve also discovered the silver lining of virtual training and development. As more organizations than ever opted for virtual programs, our facilitators witnessed firsthand the unexpected benefits of this format. We found that promoting the people-oriented use of technology enables learners to connect in new ways, even beyond what was previously thought possible.

For more, read 8 Unexpected Benefits of Online Learning for Development.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Make sure you and your organization are positioned to achieve your leadership resolutions and goals for the year. Whether you’re looking for online leadership training with options for leaders at every level, or customized leadership development for your unique context and culture, we can partner with your organization to craft a leadership solution that works.

January 1, 2021
Leading Effectively Staff
About the Author(s)
Leading Effectively Staff
This article was written by our Leading Effectively staff, who analyze our decades of pioneering, expert research and experiences in the field to share content that will help leaders at every level. Subscribe to our emails to get the latest research-based leadership articles and insights sent straight to your inbox.

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