It is that time of year ago when people start thinking about making a New Year's resolution to be better about something in their life. While many people--40-45 percent of us--set one around being healthier, many set them around being better bosses or leaders.
The biggest problem with New Year's resolutions, though, is that they do not work regardless of what we set them for because they do not really inspire us to change. In fact, just eight percent of people actually succeed.
So if you want to be a better leader, simply starting 2018 by saying, "I will be a better leader," is not the path to succeeding.
What can you do instead to inspire your people, help them grow, and guide your business to more success?
Try a New Year's Revolution.
What is it? Instead of simply stating your intention or hope to be better, grasp onto the word revolution, and make some major changes. That is, you have to take action.
Here is a five-step action plan you to put right into practice your first day back from the holiday. I used this myself in a past leadership role when I felt the honeymoon period had worn off after my first year on the job, and I wanted to get the team inspired to keep participate with me in moving things forward more.
1. Get Feedback
Ask your team for candid feedback. The best way to do this is anonymously, which means using an online survey, impartial interviewer, anonymous comment box, etc. You can quickly put together an online survey for free with a tool like SurveyMonkey to ask three basic questions:
- What are 1-3 things I should keep doing to be a better leader?
- What are 1-3 things I should stop doing to be a better leader?
- What else can I do to be a better leader for you, the team and the business?
2. Take in the Feedback
Now that you have the feedback, put together themes you can address. What are the top three things people want you to keep doing, what three things should you stop doing, and what top new ideas did people suggest for you to do?
Some of this stuff may be hard to hear, but that is a choice. Your people genuinely want to be happy, and unless they unanimously said for you to do less of "continuing to work here," they want you to be part of that happiness equation. So their feedback is meant constructively. Accept that spirit and intent, and embrace the opportunities to do better.
3. Create an Action Plan
Write out what actions you can take to keep doing the good stuff, do less or none of the bad stuff, and implement the new ideas. No need to write pages and pages here--be clear, to the point, and follow the SMART (or SMARTER) goal structure. Smart goals are ones that are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-bound.
4. Go Public
Tell the team what you learned, good and less good. Share with them what you are going to do about, by when, and how they can be a part of the journey. Sharing it with the team also creates accountability because now people are expecting you to follow through.
And if they think you will not follow through, actually doing it will make you a better, more genuinely leader in their eyes, so you win either way.
5. Do It
Now it is up to you to deliver. You have the plan, and you have created accountability. All you have to do is exactly what you said you will. Only you will have a team of people right there with you, engaged in the journey.
When I used these five steps, it worked well, but last one, and required the most effort from me. It needed the most effort because it is what mattered the most--that was the point in the process where it is make or break. That is when people see whether you mean what you say. If you lose do not follow through, then the revolution will die and so will how people see you as a leader.
Execute what you said you would, and you and your team will thrive under your newly-enhanced leadership.