I love January. There is no better time than the start of a new year to reflect and reassess personal and professional goals. I am a firm believer that we should constantly be finding new ways to achieve what we set out to do.
The most dangerous thing for a leader to be is complacent. Complacent goals, dreams, and aspirations will not grow a leader but rather diminish motivation and creativity. Challenge yourself this year with these tips to help you reach your goals in 2020.
The pathway to transformation always begins with self-reflection. At the beginning of this year, take some time to reflect. How have you seen your leadership style change and morph into who you are today? What are some things for which you are most praised? Are there areas of your leadership style that need to be addressed--things for which you've been criticized? Taking a hard look at what has been successful and what has held you back is a great place to start.
Stop and Listen
Though difficult, sometimes the voices we need to hear are also the ones we've been shutting out. Find someone in your organization who will provide truthful feedback about your leadership style--it will only help you grow. Grab coffee with members of your team. Listen to what they have to say about their experiences. Ask honest questions about how you can improve to better serve them and the organization. When leaders listen and act, change happens.
Leadership can be overwhelming, making it easy to get caught up in the immediate responsibilities on your plate, while forgetting the needs of your employees. This year, challenge yourself to be a more intentional leader. A leader that takes a holistic approach to caring for their employees is a leader that lasts. If you want your employees to care, you must care first. For leaders who feel they are quickly losing the trust of their employees, it may be the year to reconsider how you are taking care of them. Some of the most influential leaders led from a place of compassion and empathy, think Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and Oprah Winfrey. These leaders were intentional with their leadership while still being mission-minded.
Try Something New
The beginning of the year is the perfect time to try something new. Aside from your traditional resolutions, mix things up with the way you lead this year. Whether that's weekly lunches, encouraging emails, or handwritten thank you notes, I urge you to find ways to freshen up the way things are done. Here at The UPS Store, I have started each day with a new statement that my team can fill in. Something like, "I feel like a kid again when I ..." or "I am proud of myself when I...." This allows the team for a small mental break and to use their brain for something different than core work. Brainstorm with other leaders in your organization to identify what your employees need most. By trying new things, you show your employees that you are always working to be the best leader you can be. They will respect you for that.
Great leadership comes with time, so be patient with yourself and remember to always find time to refine how you lead. Make this year--the Year of the Leader.