The new year is right upon us, whether we are ready or not, and many businesses, organizations, and individuals will be evaluating their leadership strategies from 2016. Growing in leadership is an extremely important asset to any person in a position of authority, and every business or organization should be working toward growth in leadership, goals, and values for the new year.
The better the leadership is, the better the response will be from employees and team members. If employees see consistent and purposeful growth in upper management, they are more likely to be motivated to join in with that growth than they would be to incite growth with no action from upper management.
In order to improve leadership in 2017, individuals and organizations alike should consider these five strategies.
- Look back.
Take a look at the last year. What were your strategies for leading? How did you assist in resolving conflict, motivating employees, marketing products, communicating, etc.? Review the most important and beneficial strategies you used for the year and identify the strategies that may have held you back and caused you problems. One way to do this is through anonymous employee surveys. When a name is not attached, people often feel they can be honest without repercussion. If you cannot identify many strategies, take a look at number 5 in this list and make sure to implement it next year.
- Discover how your leadership role has evolved.
Due to the natural course of life, your leadership role has almost inevitably changed. It is your job to discover how it has changed and whether or not that change hurt or helped your team. Using the pros and cons you developed in the looking back stage, hone in on the ways in which you specifically can change or continue to cultivate your leadership role. Does your team learn well under your style of leadership? For example, one person may be a tactile learner while another may be a verbal learner. These two individuals will not learn the same way and might even struggle learning any other way. Try taking the time to teach or communicate using all the senses and make an effort to reach employees who have difficulty understanding.
- Evaluate the environment you create.
Last year, you and your team worked in an environment that was advantageous, detrimental, or somewhere in between. A leader can create the most brilliant of strategies for success and still fail to improve because the environment they cultivated was not prepared to succeed. An example of a detrimental environment would be one in which leadership is feared rather than respected. Some would say to be feared is to be respected; those people would be very wrong. If the people who need to be lead are afraid of their leaders, they will never fully understand their leader’s instructions, share in their leader’s dreams for the company’s future, or wish for the success of their leader and their workplace alike. On the other hand, it is just as important to continue to cultivate the good things your leadership has done for the working environment. No one wants to fall back because they did not realize they were doing a good thing.
- Make changes.
Yes, change can be frightening. However, changing for the better can yield the most excellent results in personal and professional environments. Take this step and use the information you gathered in the past three stages to create a plan for the new year. This plan should be done in steps that are practical, so as to avoid becoming overwhelmed, and optimistic, so as to bring hope for a better future. Many new year’s resolutions are dropped because they are poorly planned, leaving a person or organization feeling like a failure because they simply took on too much at one time. Additionally, some new year’s resolutions are lost because they were not enticing enough. If you lose sight of why you are making the change, the change will become tedious and useless.
- Plan for making more plans.
Take a moment to remember, even write down, how easy or hard it was for you to evaluate 2016. What strategy could you use to help you evaluate 2017 more efficiently? What strategy could you use to help your team or employees evaluate the next year better? If you keep this on your mind throughout the year, your research will be much better and your growth much easier than it may be right now.
Whatever your next endeavors may be for 2017, always be wise, hopeful, and consistent so you can continue to encourage yourself and those who look to you for leadership.