The best gifts usually don't have a price tag. 

They are lessons and insights gained through the experience of life. Every boss has the ability to learn and grow and most everyone has somewhere where they could improve in order to manage people more effectively.  Here are 12 specific insights sure to make anyone a better leader. If you already did your shopping for yourself this season, no worry.  This list is valuable all year long.

1. Humility

There are lots of ways to give yourself the understanding of humility. And luckily they are not all painful. Spend some time with those less fortunate who are able to overcome severe hardship.  Learn what people can do with handicaps or minimal resources. Learn the satisfaction and blessings that even basic needs and actions can bring when lacking advantage.  Get involved and make a difference in at least one life.

2. Open mindedness

As people get older and more accomplished they tend to trust their instincts more and naturally become more dismissive and maybe even cynical. Spend a day where you agree not to reject any idea for 24 hours. You may dismiss some of the ideas the next day but at least you will have given outside thought full consideration.  Watch for the positive reaction of the idea giver.

3. Perspective

Perhaps you have been seeing the same things the same way for much too long. Take on the job for a day of one of your employees. Make it as different as your daily practice as possible. Who knows what you will learn?

4. Honesty

Take a day to be hyper aware of your communication. Do you find yourself gilding the lily? Are you telling little white lies to manipulate situations justifying that the ends are worth the dishonest means?  Here is your chance to be honest with yourself about your willingness to stretch or omit the truth. Better to be aware.

5.  Confidence

People who think they fell into leadership positions by accident or default continually amaze me. Even if that were true, and most often it's not, The responsibility for people is now yours and you owe it to yourself and them to help them be amazing. Revel in the fact that you have made it to this point for a reason and find the inner confidence to be worthy of the opportunity.

6. The Ability to say, "No"

You don't have to please everyone. Sometimes no is the right answer even when it's hard to say. Yes there are consequences and people may be unhappy, but if the decision has been given due consideration and is based upon solid fact finding, people will learn that when you say no it is often for the good of everyone involved.

7. The Courage to say, "Yes"

Is the status quo so amazing it must be preserved at all costs? Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Give your team members the encouragement they need to come up with groundbreaking ideas by creating an environment where you can take risks safely. Then you can nearly always find a way to say yes.

8. The Willingness to Lead

Just because you are in the position of power does not make you a leader. You have to want to help people perform together in a way that gains exponential results.  That means improving yourself by constantly learning new and better techniques for motivating people. In short, you have got to love it.  If not, stand aside and let the truly willing take over.

9. Good Health

You are no good to your family, company or staff if you are overstressed and constantly sick.  Commit to a healthy lifestyle and diet so the people who admire you and rely upon you can have the pleasure of your company for a long time to come.

10. Resolve

Nothing makes people feel more uncomfortable than uncertainty. No one can be right all the time, but often just showing the resolve to make a decision can bolster the team to take action.  Make an effort to decide one way or another on troublesome issues so you and your team don't suffer from the paralysis of indecision.

11. Peace of Mind

Your employees count on you to guide the ship and keep them safe. That way they can find strength in their own calm. If demons are making you erratic and anxious, it's time to exorcise them and take control. Do what you have to do, change personnel, take a vacation, get some therapy, whatever it takes to make yourself happy and strong.  The team will benefit from your action and your example.

12. Gratitude

Take the time during this quiet week to reflect on all the people who have made you successful. Make a list so you can be sure to thank them at some point in the near future. You don't have to spend money or handwrite thank you notes, although that is always nice.  Just look them in the eye and tell them you appreciate their contribution.  Simple acknowledgement can sometimes be the greatest gift of all.

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