Leadership Resolutions for the New Year
While we are busy making resolutions to better ourselves for the coming year, an area that doesn’t receive enough focus is to be resolute about becoming a better leader. Sure we have resolutions for weight loss, cessation of bad habits, and getting more organized, but few leaders actually resolve to become better leaders. Many of us have the desire to achieve more in 2016, and since you are in a leadership capacity as a Dentist, there are few things you control that will help you to achieve those goals as much as improving your leadership ability. Let’s take a look at 9 things you can resolve to do to become a better leader in the New Year.
1. Don’t forget your strengths. We tend to think of making improvements by correcting weaknesses, yet the best leaders stand out with the presence of great strengths. That is not to say that correcting a weakness or fixing a flaw isn’t useful, but think about the best leaders you have worked with and odds are, they were excellent because of something they did profoundly well. Consider your strong points and how to leverage and build on them. If you don’t know them, ask a colleague or two who you trust, or even think about using a 360-degree feedback instrument.
2. Stop multi-tasking when engaging with another person. This behavior tends to have the effect of leaving the person in front of you feeling they are less important. When engaging with other people, don’t email, text, or pay attention to someone else. Provide your undivided attention. If you must take another call, apologize – and if appropriate, reschedule your time together. Don’t keep them waiting for you.
3. Communicate more powerfully. Your primary leadership tool is language. Use examples and metaphors from other elements of business, literature, or current events to illustrate your points. Improve your vocabulary and integrate new words and phrases as you become more interesting and even exciting to listen to. Don’t forget your tone, emphasis and non-verbal communication as well. It all plays a part in how powerfully you are received.
4. Assert yourself. Leaders need to step up and be visible. Whether you are advocating a new point of view, supporting a customer, or sponsoring an employee for a promotion, a little bit of extra assertiveness can help all leaders. Don’t worry about being pushy. Be polite. State your position and be firm. I am frequently surprised by how leaders I work with default to a deferential position when communicating with others. That doesn’t mean to not allow for other perspectives, but it does mean to actively promote your own.
5. Be the role model of key behaviors. You are being watched. All the time. Everything you do. People are paying close attention to your behaviors to determine what is acceptable and what is not. Remember, employees will do as you do; not as posters on your wall might say.
6. Spend more time thinking strategically. Most leaders I work with get mired in tasks and thereby get farther and farther from their bigger-picture work. The quick litmus test is whether you are focused on what to do or how something should be done. Strategy is about what to do and tactics are about how to do it. Carve out a little time each week to think about what needs to be done and why, instead of evaluating alternatives.
7. Manage your own energy levels to keep them high. Emotions have a contagion effect and your energy levels do as well. While you don’t need to be fired up at all times, having a high positive energy level will increase the influence you have on others and promote stronger levels of engagement from your team. You will also find that this increases your productivity and has a variety of additional beneficial effects.
8. Take a leadership role in a change effort. Nothing says great leadership like leading a positive intentional change for your practice that results in some kind of improved condition. The term ‘change agent’ is a bit overused for a reason. That’s because there is not a great deal of leadership required to maintain the status quo. Being the change agent will provide you with the platform to do your best work this year.
9. Demonstrate care and concern for others. Leadership is after all about supporting and inspiring your people. It is hard to lead effectively if people do not sense that you care. Leadership is a relational skill and it depends in large part on how others perceive you. Whether they interact with you directly or through others, look for opportunities to manage to their perception that you care.
Resolving to become a better leader this year will yield great results for you in both the short and long term. Not all of these resolutions may be for you, but perhaps you can find one or two that will make the difference this year. Happy New Year!
Dr. Gale provides coaching and training to enhance leadership skills, interpersonal communications and team building. If you would like to learn more, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.orgForward this article to a friend
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