Do you have 2020 leader vision? Are you doing what it takes to succeed in the coming year?

Good leadership is something most every organization needs more of. Researchers have found that only 18 percent of organizations say their leaders are "very effective" at meeting business goals.

Not only that, but according to research on the topic, three out of four employees say that dealing with their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job. Two-thirds say they would happily take a new boss over a pay raise.

Great? Not so great? Just ok?

Every leader has room to improve. To succeed as a leader in the new year, start doing these 7 things right now:

1. Communicate powerfully and prolifically.

The very best leaders make a habit of communicating with their people--frequently and openly. And with advances in technology over the past couple of decades, there are all sorts of ways to communicate, including email, text messages, Slack and other business instant messaging platforms, and videoconferencing in addition to good old-fashioned meetings, telephone calls, and face-to-face discussions. The fact that you're actively communicating with employees will go a long way in helping to create an open and productive company culture.

2. Build relationships.

Relationships and trust are the lifeblood of every business. When you build strong, trust-based relationships your people will be more engaged in their jobs, productivity will improve, customers will seek you out, and you'll set up your business to succeed. Make a point of building strong, trust-based relationships with everyone on your team, your colleagues and other managers and executives, your customers and vendors, and everyone else you deal with. The stronger the relationships you nurture with those around you, the better you will perform as a leader.

3. Be decisive.

All leaders must make tough decisions. It's a key part of the job of being a leader. Of course, not every decision you make is going to please everyone--from your employees to your boss to your customers and clients. However, if your decisions are made honestly and transparently and fairly--with the reasons for making them laid out for all to see--then you be confident knowing you've done all you can do to make good ones. Do the best you can. Gather information. Ask for input. Test your assumptions. Then make your decision and move on to the next one.

4. Be empathetic. 

Leaders are human, and so are the men and women who work for them. And as humans, we expect to be treated compassionately and with respect. The best leaders leaders know this, and they always have empathy for their people and treat them with genuine kindness and concern. The very best leaders help their employees through challenges and they provide them with opportunities to develop their skills and take more responsibility.

5. Exude confidence.

When you know what you're doing as a leader, you're going to naturally exude confidence to those around you. The great thing about confident leaders is that this confidence rubs off--on your employees, on your customers, and on the community in which you do business. As confidence expert Heather Monahan explains in her book Confidence Creator, "The only limitations that can be put on you are the ones that you put on yourself. Make a conscious choice to NOT put limitations on yourself and instead challenge the status quo."

6. Inspire and motivate others.

Great leaders create a vision of the future that is vivid and compelling, and that motivates employees to want to achieve it. Everyone wants to work for leaders who are inspiring and who motivate them to do more than they thought possible. And they want to work for a company that makes a difference in the world. As a leader, you are best able to help your people connect what they do to the impact it has on customers and communities.

7. Have integrity and honesty

The best leaders have integrity--they are unfailingly honest and transparent. Their employees, coworkers, bosses, and customers know that they can rely on them do what they say they are going to do. And if for some reason they can't, they'll explain to you why not. Former Umpqua Bank CEO Ray Davis summed this all up in his book Leading Through Uncertainty. Says Davis, "I always tell our people that they're entitled to get answers to every question they have. ... That doesn't mean they're going to like the answers. But it's going to be truthful, and I know they can deal with the truth. This might create additional questions, but we'll get through them. And we do."

Published on: Jan 3, 2020
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.