Discover new ways to motivate your employees and coach amazing people to their best abilities. Photo courtesy of Wix.
In my work, I’m privileged to meet and work with some pretty amazing people. These leaders truly care about making themselves better leaders of people, and not doers of tasks. They’re already pretty proficient in the day to day of what they do. Where they seek to grow is in the soft skills, or people aspects, of what they do. While every coaching and training project is unique to the people involved, there are some things that recur in most conversations about what leaders would like to work on. The new year offers the perfect
opportunity to reflect and analyze their current leadership practices and create goals (resolutions, if you will) for their leadership strategies going forward.
1. It’s time to really know your team members. Incorporate regular, frequent, and consistent
one on one conversations into your management practice.
You know their names and what they do on your team, but do you really know much about them as people? Get to know a bit about their families, pets, what they like to do outside of work, etc. Knowing a little about them as people, both at work and at home, will help you to know what motivates them to do their best work. It will also help as a starting point for conversations.
Busy leaders often tell me they don’t have time for one-on-one conversations with all their team members. I push back on this push back. When I dig a little deeper, I find what’s really holding people back is not knowing how to start the conversation. So, start with asking a bit about your team members. It can begin with something as simple as “What was the best part of the holidays for you?”
2. Remember, you are a leader of people, not tasks.
Managers are often so inundated with management tasks that they put off doing their real jobs of leading people. To make sure the tasks don’t overshadow the people, block time off in your calendar for the conversations mentioned above and honour the time commitment. Put the people at the forefront by considering at least one thing you can do each week to help them achieve what they need to achieve. The good news is this helps you achieve your goals as well.
3. Commit to the development of your people.
If you’re having regular conversations with your people, you’ll soon learn what makes them tick at work. You’ll learn what their goals are for the future, and you can formulate plans to get them there. Work with them to develop success plans and how they’ll get to their career goals. Perhaps it means sending them to courses or conferences, or bringing in trainers and coaches. It could mean finding articles or other resources to help bring them up to speed or finding them coaches and/or mentors. Regardless of the manner in which development is approached, what will come through loud and clear is how invested you are in their long-term success.
4. Communicate your vision and strategies to the team.
So often leaders hold their strategy cards really close to their chests. They’re reluctant to share what’s going on, thinking it’s best if they hold all the decision-making cards. However, the opposite is often true. Team members will be far more engaged in the success of a plan if they are involved in the creation of it. They will have a sense of ownership and be invested in making it the best it can be. Spin-off benefit: This can help with the development of people, as mentioned in point 3 above.
5. Commit to your own development.
It’s great to be aware of the needs of your people but remember—you deserve professional
development too. What would you like to work on this year for your own growth? It could be
you’d like to take a course on developing your soft skills or strategic thinking, or maybe you’d like to join a professional association or attend a conference. Be sure to work that into your plans, just as you have for your team.
As you dive into this new year’s work, take some time to reflect on what you’ve done in the past, what you’d like to carry into 2023, and what you’d like to tweak going forward. Write down your goals for the year and the steps you’ll take to achieve them. There are lots of tools available to help you track your goals. Do a quick Google search and you’ll find a wide selection of templates. The most important thing to remember: Take action! New year’s resolutions often fizzle and die pretty quickly. Make sure your leadership resolutions are achieved by writing them down, tracking their progress, and involving others in making them a success!
Laura Sukorokoff is a business person and people leader, just like you! She is working on her own plans for 2023 and taking her own advice to write down and track her goals. If you’d like to see what she uses for a goal-setting worksheet, reach out at email@example.com. If you’d like soft skills training for yourself and your team, she’d love to talk. Check out her programs at https://www.cchangelearning.com/