Everyone wants immediate results, but that's rarely the case, regardless of whether you're attempting to lose weight, improve revenue, or develop as a leader. That's because results, especially the ones with a lasting impact, are the byproduct of doing the right things each and every day.
1. You read a book or listen to a podcast daily.
The daily habit of reading books or listening to educational podcasts isn't an easy one to adopt with so many entertainment options at your fingertips. But you have broken the spell of watching Netflix every night or listening to music during your commute because you know leaders are readers. You are constantly reading or listening to a new business book in order to expand your knowledge and engage your mind. While this practice might not pay off immediately, there is no doubt it will in 2019 and beyond.
2. You are proactive in shaping your team's culture.
You don't take culture for granted. In fact, you are constantly molding it in a positive direction because you know who's ultimately responsible for it. I have come to define culture this way: the shared values and beliefs that guide thinking and behavior. Culture is everything to a team, and while everyone on the team plays a part in the ongoing development of the culture, it's the leader's responsibility to create and mold it.
3. You love your people.
If you are going to excel in 2019, this is exactly the place your heart needs to be when thinking about your people. I spent some time last week with one of the best managers I have ever met, and when I asked him his secret to being a great manager, his answer surprised me. He responded, "All I do is love my people." Before you get your human resources flag out, love is "to contribute to someone's long-term success and well-being" in the Ultimate Leadership Academy.
4. You no longer have favorites.
We are naturally drawn to people who look and act like us. It's easy to put those people on a pedestal and treat them differently than others. You have learned to reject the old saying "she reminds me so much of myself," and instead create strong relationships with every member of your team. Each and every team member has to live up to the same standards, and you hold them equally accountable.
5. You stopped measuring yourself by how much you make.
The easiest way for anyone to define themselves is the almighty dollar. The great Benjamin Franklin famously said, "Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one."
While you care about how much money you make, you won't let it define you. At the end of the year, instead of evaluating your total compensation, you evaluate how well you elevated others to become the best versions of themselves.
6. You start your day with purpose.
Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 to get his day started the right way. Many other great leaders do the same. Former Vanguard Group chairman and CEO Bill McNabb said, "The quiet time between 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. is when some of my best work gets done. It's my time to read, think, and prepare for the day ahead. I try really hard to preserve that time."
You also understand the importance of starting your day with purpose. You make sure you have at least 30 minutes to pray, meditate, read, or write. By doing so, you allow your day to start on a positive note that carries you the rest of the day.
7. You ask your people for feedback.
Our research of more than 30,000 leaders has shown the number one thing leaders do poorly is asking their people for feedback. While many leaders assume they are doing a good job, you do not. You make a point of receiving feedback from your people by asking them these two questions:
- What's one thing you want me to start doing?
- What's one thing you want me to stop doing?
These seven signs let you know you are on track to becoming a better leader in 2019. If you see some of these missing, don't fret. Leadership is a journey, not a destination. So start anew today.