Here are three (easy) New Year’s resolutions for leaders to target in 2017:
1. Make Time to Lead. We set aside time to meet with other departments, prepare reports, respond to emails and to do project planning and then execute on those projects. But how many leaders set aside time to lead their people intentionally?
To kick off 2017 set aside time each week to think intentionally about what the individuals on your team need from you as their leader. Who do you need to talk to about career development? What performance management conversations have you been avoiding? Who did a stellar job and deserves a special thank you? Who simply needs some one on one time with you to kick off the New Year and get clear on their 2017 goals and objectives?
Take some time for yourself each week in 2017 and think about what the people on your team need from you. Then add those items to your to do list and input them into your calendar as needed to make sure you follow through on them.
2. Talk less. Ask More. Make 2017 the year you focus on asking for more input from your team individually and in a group. Leverage all of the creativity, problem solving skills and experience they have to get to even better solutions and results.
When someone on your team makes a mistake or needs your guidance, start by asking questions. Your advice is not as impactful as you think it is. When an employee works through their own solution or plan, they commit to it in a way that they never will when they are told the answer or the solution.
Ask open ended questions and give them time and space to meaningfully respond. If they are off track, this is a learning opportunity for them where you can start to ask more direct questions to help guide them along. But let them come up with the solution or plan on their own even if you are gently guiding them there.
3. Say Thank You. Find ways to individually and meaningfully thank the people on your team every week. When you think someone is awesome, tell them how awesome they are and what they did that impressed you. I guarantee it will leave them striving to ensure you keep thinking that highly of them.
Even if someone is just doing marginally better after a performance discussion but isn’t fully successful in a task yet, take the time to thank them for making the effort and making the change. You are letting them know that you have noticed the improvement and you are helping them maintain the motivation and momentum to continue improving.
Saying thank you costs nothing but is more impactful than most other rewards. Gallup research shows that to be effective in giving recognition, leaders need to give meaningful ‘thank you’s’ to employees every 7 days. Be intentional about saying thank you to your team regularly. This practice will build commitment within your team and will contribute to your team’s ability to maintain momentum through 2017 so you can achieve your team’s goals.
In 2017 commit to making time to lead, talking less and asking more and saying thank you. These are three simple practices to incorporate in your day to day routine in 2017. They may be simple, but they have the potential to be game changers for a team.
Jane Helbrecht is a Partner at Acuity HR Solutions. She leads the training and development function with a focus on Acuity’s Intentional People Leadership training program. For more information on Jane or Acuity HR Solutions visit https://acuityhr.ca/