Few people are natural born leaders. Most have to learn technique through life experience and then polish their skills as they grow. Becoming a great leader requires changes in habits. You need to apply some discipline so that odd-feeling practices become natural and instinctive.

Mondays are a great day to focus on improving your leadership skills. You get to start a fresh week with a new slate. It's a great day for scheduling and organizing specific activities that will boost your leadership stature steadily and consistently. Here are 6 actions that are sure to make your followers devoted.

1. Revisit your vision and purpose.

Even the best leaders can get so busy with day-to-day operations and firefighting that they lose sight of the bigger picture. As a leader, it's your job to maintain the focus at a high level so that the ground level work and decisions support the overall objective. Take 15 minutes first thing Monday morning to pull out and review your strategic documents. Remind yourself and your team of the reasons why you do what you do, and communicate a clear picture of what success looks like. You can't possibly repeat this material too much.

2. Commit to one major goal for the week.

Of course there are always projects to do, messes to clean up, and general busy work. But your team performs best when they experience accomplishment. Choose one manageable project that can be finished by Friday. Make sure it's big enough to move the team forward yet not so ambitious that it detracts from everything else that need to be done. Get the team focused on Monday and watch the pride when they finish on Friday. Soon the team will feel confident and empowered.

3. Begin five thank you notes.

Most people don't show gratitude often enough. It's not that they aren't grateful or they have no manners. It's just difficult to remember and acknowledge every good thing that someone does when you are busy. Buy a box of thank-you notes and set out 5 on your desk Monday morning. At the end of each weekday reflect on your day and single out a team member who did something special. Finish the note thoughtfully and put it on his or her desk where it can easily be seen the next morning. Sleep soundly knowing you have made the team feel appreciated and respected.

4. Schedule two lunches with team members.

Many leaders don't spend enough casual time with their team members. Rapport is critical for successful performance. Both you and your team have to eat, and a one-hour meal gives you plenty of time to get past the business conversation and show interest in your team member as a person. Get out of the office lunchroom twice a week and show your humanity with some well-spent social time.

5. Focus on one of your flaws.

If you are so busy taking advantage of what works, you may not have time to fix what doesn't work. No one is perfect. Even the best leaders are still human and require improvement. Take 20 minutes to create a list of the areas where you could improve as a leader. Check with a mentor and your colleagues if you are unsure of your true weaknesses. Then each Monday pick a flaw and determine an action you can take towards measurable improvement. Perhaps it's losing your temper less or responding faster to inquiries. Just pick something each week and tackle it with fervor.

6. Plan one celebration.

Most likely your team is not made up of mercenaries who are only doing their job for the money. People want to feel accomplishment and joy from the journey itself. Dedicate time each week for celebrating all the good things and all the good people that make your company a great place to work. Make it a priority so people feel good both during the workday and when they head home.

Published on: Apr 27, 2015
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