Leadership Resolutions: 2012

It’s a new year!   And with the new year comes a slew of promises, goals, and resolutions to “be a better you”.

So, what resolutions have you set?

As I’ve listened to several people this week, I’ve heard much of the same rhetoric that you hear every year at this time.  I’m going to lose weight.  I’m going to eat better.  I’m going to be healthier.  I’m going to read more.  I’m going to spend more time with family and friends.

Now, these are all noble goals.  But let’s be honest.  How many times have you set these goals for yourself at the beginning of the year and actually followed through on them as you had intended?

If you’ve achieved your goals in the past then kudos to you!  Unfortunately, you’re probably in the minority.  Often, our resolutions go by the wayside before we get out of January.  And then at the end of the year we wonder where the time went and vow to be more resolute the next year.

My wife and I were talking about our goals and resolutions for 2012 this last week.  And if I learned anything (which I learn a lot from my wife), it’s that everyone views resolutions differently and has different motivators to get them to succeed.

For me, I need pretty clear goals that outline what I want to achieve.  So instead of saying, “I will lose weight.”  I say, “I will lose 20lbs by May 1st by working out 4x a week, watching my caloric intake, and eating low fat foods.”   The latter goal for me is SMART (simple, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) and is something I can accomplish.  Now, not all pursuits and resolutions can easily fall in to that SMART format (e.g., I want to be more friendly.  I want to listen more.), but it does work well for many and I encourage the use of those concrete goals when possible.

Another interesting observation of this week is that many of the resolutions that people talked about this week revolved around their personal life (e.g., weight, health, relationships, etc.).  I didn’t hear anyone say, “I want to be a better leader.”  Nor did I hear anyone talk about their professional life in any form.

So, I want to focus here.  Because I think it’s important to that we set goals in all aspects of our life; personal, professional, spiritual, etc.

Since our focus is on leadership topics, let’s look at your leadership goals.

What do you want to do differently as a leader this year?  Have you set any goals or made resolutions?

Resolving to do things different here isn’t much different than any other area of your life.  It’s merely identifying the areas that you’d like to improve in, setting a goal, and then driving towards that goal.

To share a personal example, for 2012 I resolve that I will be a better leader by ‘talking less and listening more’.  Now, this is hardly a SMART goal, which for me means that I will have to be even more deliberate and diligent in my pursuit of this goal.  Why is this one of my goals?  Because this is a trait I see that makes other leaders great.  And frankly, is an area that I can improve upon to improve my own leadership presence and skills.

One of the most profound statements I heard over the last few weeks came from a visiting pastor at my church.  He said, “One of the rost things you can do is be successful at things that don’t matter.”

So, back to you.   What can you do differently this year to become a better leader?  Are you focusing on the things that matter?

Here are 10 good examples of leadership resolutions I pulled by scouring the internet:

  1. Talk Less, Listen More
  2. Be Deliberate (in what you say and do) – have purpose behind your action and words
  3. Cut the Crap – Eliminate unnecessary clutter in your life (e.g., meetings, emails, etc.)
  4. Work Out! – Getting in to a regular workout routine improves stress management
  5. Focus on One (thing at a time) – be present and pay attention
  6. Grow Your Network – Build stronger relationships and make new ones
  7. Find Quiet Time (to think and focus) – don’t get sucked in to the momentum of the day
  8. Get Organized – find what works for you to make you more efficient
  9. Learn Something New – continue expanding your skills and knowledge
  10. Focus on Teaching Others – the actions of those under your influence is your legacy

What other resolutions can you think of?  What are YOU going to do?

Happy New Year!


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