We made it! The year 2018 has officially begun, and we have a feeling it will be the best one yet.
It is a new year, and focusing on improvement in 2018 is at the top of everyone’s list. We all search and scramble to create our New Year’s Resolutions before midnight, all so we can have the perfect conversation starter when we return to work or school.
However, we don’t often think about the concept of New Year’s Resolutions and what it teaches us to do. Yes, we may resolve to drink more water, eat less junk food, or come more prepared to practices/meetings, but what this tradition teaches us is much bigger than one resolution… it teaches us goal setting.
As you set personal and professional goals for 2018, intentionally developing and growing as a leader is a long-term investment that impacts you and those around you in lasting ways. Here’s how you can make leadership your New Year’s Resolution:
& Build Relationships
All too frequently, we see the same people every day, and we do not take the time to invest in them as people. We see them for their title and what they can do for us—player, coworker, director, boss– but we forget that everyone has a story and a different perspective on life. We put our needs before others and let them fade into the background of our daily lives.
Effective leadership requires buy-in.
Getting everyone on the same page is not a simple task. Inspiring others in a way that brings out their best and commitment to a common goal is crucial to establishing buy-in. That commitment and respect is developed through built relationships. This year, take advantage of opportunities to get to know those that work around you. Whether it is the custodian, one of your players, or a new coworker, challenge yourself to create connections with people that are around you.
Pick ONE book AND FINISH IT.
We’ve all done it… you buy twelve books at the start of the New Year with every intention to read them, yet as the weeks go by, you watch them collect dust on your nightstand. Instead, try buying or revisiting just one book that you have been meaning to read.
Leaders are relentless in their pursuit of knowledge, but too often, we accumulate professional or personal development materials that go unused. This year, choose a manageable goal and start small. Review materials and action items from previous opportunities and resources, and see what sparks your interest. Challenge yourself to take one piece of advice from this material and implement it towards professional or personal growth opportunities. If you are an overachiever, implement multiple strategies and see how it changes your normal perspective. Even the smallest steps are good steps toward becoming a better leader.
Looking for a great list of inspiring leadership reads? Check out Strive’s Top 5 Books that every leader should consider reading.
Mend Broken Relationships
So often, relationships are tarnished over small arguments, misunderstandings, and pride. In the course of achieving a goal and when working in groups or teams, conflict at some point is inevitable. Acknowledging that we are only human, sometimes we handle conflict poorly or wish to change conversations that we have had with team members.
Leadership builds community and connections even when it is difficult. This year, have the difficult conversations amongst teammates and players and build on relationships that may be broken or in need of strengthening. Start by thinking of one person you would like to improve your relationship with and find a neutral place to share a coffee.
Let Go of Your Pride, Delegate!
Contrary to popular belief, delegating tasks is NOT a sign of weakness. It is an essential quality that can help you expand and refine your leadership style.
Delegating tasks is sensitive, yet it empowers others to be a part of the goal and vision. Effective leadership empowers others and helps them grow. Being protective of our work is natural, but in a team setting it is essential that tasks are shared, delegated, and appropriate support is provided.
- When delegating work, try to give the person their own project or task. Allowing them to take ownership of the task will create a sense of pride and buy-in.
- Be sure to give clear and concise directions, so the person taking over the task understand exactly what you want them to do and the outcome you are expecting.
- It is okay to check in and give feedback throughout the process to make sure the person is on the right track, but allow yourself to have trust in the person you are delegating to.
It is so easy to get caught up in our work and forget to delegate, but utilizing those around us who are excited to help can often time lead to great results.
A Good Leader Knows When To Follow
When good ideas and leaders emerge around you, be supportive of their progress and be a good follower. Engage, provide thoughtful and constructive questioning, add to the mission and vision of the organization, and support development. Good followers are critical thinkers. They are invested in the progress of the group and are direct yet respectful. Look for opportunities to continue to help your team progress when effective followership is needed.
So, What Are You Waiting For?
Effective leadership requires a skill set that, just like anything else, takes dedication and practice. This year, challenge yourself to goal set all year round. Don’t wait for 2019 to better other aspects of your personal and professional life. Take the initiative! Push yourself to develop and grow into the leader that YOU want to be.
For more information about goal setting, check out some of our other blog posts, Goal Setting for Young Athletes and Goals Are Important, Coaches Can Help Achieve Them. Need help setting and achieving your leadership goals this year? Contact us to find out how you can attend a Strive Leadership Open House.