What's your resolution for the New Year? Exercise more? Quit a bad habit?
Chances are the people who work with you hope it's a resolution to become a better leader in 2016.
There are entire books written on the subject, but here are an even dozen simple things to keep in mind if this is your goal, culled from my most-read posts about leadership over the past year.
1. Think big.
If you want to lead people to do something, make it somewhere worth their time and effort to achieve.
2. Think strategically.
It's easy to get so caught up with urgent things that you forget about the truly important ones. Ask yourself: do our daily efforts truly lead to the big goals we want?
3. Get forgiveness, not permission.
Don't wait for someone else to give you a title or a leadership role. Most often, people hold themselves back because they feel like they need someone else's imprimatur. Don't do that--and this is true 10 times over if you actually are in a formal leadership role!
4. Forget about titles and pedigrees.
Practice what you preach. Don't get hung up on what other people's job titles are, or what schools or previous employers they came from. Watch the results people achieve, instead.
5. Make more leaders.
When someone you've mentored or led outshines you--take it as the ultimate compliment to your leadership style. Be proud and excited--never envious.
6. Be open and transparent.
A great leader understands that in a majority of cases, people who hoard information do so because they're weak and insecure. Give others the tools they need to be successful.
7. Take responsibility; share credit.
Regardless of why a team falls short, if you're a true leader it's up to you to take the blame. On the other side, when the team succeeds, share the credit. That's the burden of leadership.
8. Be courageous
You don't have to be fearless; far from it. Everybody is afraid, even of greatness. The test here is whether you can control your fears and act anyway.
9. Be other-centered
It's amazing how much success you can have as a leader when you stop worrying about your own success--and instead focus on the success of your team and its members. True leaders put others first.
10. Be confident
When you have a worthy goal, a good plan, and a great team--act like it. Confidence and optimism usually lead to positive outcomes.
11. Be humble
Humility and confidence can go hand-in-hand for a truly great leader. Bluster is unbecoming, and ultimately leads to poor leadership.
12. Be caring
Separate from selflessness, a great leader displays concern and consideration for others. Act strongly and decisively--but with kindness.