5 Rules for Effective Leadership in the New Year
No period of the year offers more incentive for sobriety, re-evaluation and re-strategizing than the New Year. As leaders, it is a time to think things through, project and design implementation plans to be more effective in the New Year. Above all, it is a time to think about how we can become better leaders.
Why must we become better leaders? We must become better because the challenges of life and leadership won’t wait for us or schedule a timetable. We must not be caught napping or unaware. We must hit the ground running and be prepared to rise up to every occasion.
There are five critical areas for us to pay attention to as we reflect and project
We must strive for balance as leaders. We must avoid the insidious trap of prioritizing work above family. I have lived long enough to reject the myth that success in the workplace will create fulfillment at home. If your career or business is growing and your spouse and children feel neglected, then it’s time to do a reality check on your priorities. It is simply wrong and unnecessary to place your work commitments above family or else you and your family will pay the price. If your focus is on your family, you career won’t suffer. Trust me, it will flourish instead.
2. Create a white space
Don’t attempt to crowd your calendar with activities. Leading doesn’t always mean doing. While you must optimize your energy through mindfulness and maximizing the present, don’t attempt to do it all. Create space for others to function and find expression through delegated responsibilities. You have just enough time to do the essentials.
Being a leader is not a license to increasing the volume of rhetoric. Real leaders understand there is far more to gain by surrendering the floor than by dominating it. We must not undermine the value that can be derived from the minds of others, a value that can be tapped, beginning with listening.
This is an often overlooked but very critical aspect of learning. I can think of no better definition of a closed mind than someone unwilling to change their opinions and positions. There are things you believe or hold dear that do not qualify for the future you desire or even your present moment. They simply will hold you back. Show me someone who never changes his/her mind and I will show you a static thinker who has sentenced his/her mind to a prison of mediocrity and wasted potential. Do not short-change yourself. The smartest people I know are open to change. They are not interested in being right as much as having the right outcome. This is a test of maturity, confidence and humility. It will help you to refine your opinions, ideas and convictions as well as making you approachable and human.
You must be engaged with the people you lead. You can’t be self absorbed and expect to build influence, trust and confidence. Engage people in person, over the phone, via email, social media or a good old thank you note.
There is a lot more to learn to be effective as leaders. Abraham Lincoln said “The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” Do something now about what you have learnt today.