Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you keep them?

Resolutions are always a great topic of conversation at the New Year’s Eve party after the clock strikes twelve. But…. the vast majority of resolutions fail fairly early into the year.

This year I’ve put the health and fitness resolutions on hold and decided to focus only on my leadership skills. I made a number of resolutions that would contribute to both my leadership skills and to the success of my team.

1. Increase Trust Within the Team.
We are fortunate to have built a great team, but I never take that for granted. The mutual respect, reliability and loyalty that goes both ways in a great team is a dynamic process. Trust is a fundamental principle of leadership, it needs to be nurtured by giving ownership to tasks, avoiding micromanagement, etc.

2. Improve Communication Within the Workplace. 
With so much going on; deadlines, training, strategies etc. it is easy to fall into the ‘I’m busy’ mode; put your head down and get the work done yourself. While it’s great to tick things off the list it is so important to members of a team that the leader is communicating the plans, vision and purpose. Communication is paramount. Regular meetings give everyone the opportunity to monitor the progress of the plans set in place. They also keep everyone in the loop and make open communication so much easier.

3. Empower my Team.
An important aspect of a great leader is how well she grows other leaders. It’s not enough to keep the business on track and make sure goals and targets are met. Leadership development for the team members is an important goal to set and follow. Are your team members growing? Are you delegating some of your tasks? Delegation is a win-win, you can be more strategic with less work on your plate while staff members are learning new skills and growing. It should be obvious to each member of the team how they are growing professionally. Delegation also sends a clear message that you trust your team.

4. Share my Vision and Purpose. 
Having a shared vision and purpose is vital for the success of your business. Start the year off with everyone on the same page. Do they know the goals set for the first quarter or for the whole year? Make sure everyone knows just where you are going and how you intend to get there. Ask for their input, each team member has valuable contributions to make, don’t lead alone. When your staff buys into the common goal, commitment and productivity will go through the roof. A shared vision also makes for a positive, motivated workplace culture.

5. Ensure Team Members are Held Accountable. 
Giving negative feedback and holding others accountable is never easy but you must do it for a high functioning team. Letting the poor performers be carried by the rest of the team is counterproductive on so many levels. Identify your poor performers, offer training, counselling and if that doesn’t work, let them go. Everyone, including the poor performer will be better off.

6. Be Authentic with my Team. 
Let your team see you for who you are. Share concerns along with the vision, admit mistakes. It is so much easier to lead by example when you are authentic. Authenticity includes trust, honesty and transparency. Your team know what they are getting, they are confident dealing and communicating with you. The most successful leaders have one trait in common; they are authentic. When you are open with your team you are also holding yourself accountable and that’s a good thing. I have shared my leadership resolutions with my team, I’m sure they’ll hold me accountable.

7. Reflect on my Leadership skills. 
Take a good look at your leadership style and achievements. Are you the leader you would like to follow? What are the areas that you would like to improve? Good, honest reflection will get your year off to a great start. Review regularly. Welcome honest feedback from your team.

Research tells us that people would prefer a good leader over a higher salary. Be conscious of the fact that your role as leader is important, YOU will set the pace and tone for the year ahead in your business.

Have a great 2015!