The holidays are here once again, and the New Year is around the corner. This is the time when we take stock of our accomplishments this year and resolve to follow our purpose next year. All too often, we begin to tackle our resolutions with zeal, but fall by the wayside when we discover that our hopes for the New Year were too lofty.
This is the reason that New Year’s resolutions have a bad rap. But it doesn’t have to happen this way. Even in the office, you can set a few realistic New Year’s resolutions that challenge you to be a better employee/employer without setting you up for failure from the outset. The key is to ensure that you can keep the resolutions despite the daily grind of your workplace, even at your busiest.
These are a few ideas to get you started.
Make These New Years Resolutions at Work
In 2021, I will listen better.
How many times do you ask questions and really listen to the answers provided? Do you listen to your team members’ queries and concerns? Or do you simply respond to employee feedback with vague non-committal responses and immediately forget what they said?
In the New Year, you can resolve to listen actively to everyone around you and to implement an open-door policy if you haven’t already done so. Remember that employees are not robots; they can see through false promises and vague responses.
Active listening and genuine concern make everyone feel recognized, valued, and appreciated, especially when followed by appropriate feedback/action. You will likely see these positive feelings in increased morale and productivity and a light, happy workplace environment – people don’t leave places that make them feel good.
In 2021, I will delegate more.
Most leaders fail to stick to their resolutions because they have too much on their plate, and so the newest things are the first to fall. Many struggle to admit to themselves that they cannot get everything done themselves, and to delegate tasks to their teams and free up some of their time.
Delegation expresses trust and empowers your team, and it a defining characteristic of a great leader. It frees you up to focus on the big picture, regardless of the size of the team you are leading. If you have trouble delegating, you can ask your assistant or colleague to help you figure out what you can get off your plate.
In 2021, I will create a plan for my team’s development.
This one will need more deliberate action from you as a leader. There are numerous upsides to empowering and investing in your team’s growth and development. By improving their skill set, you won’t worry as much about delegating tasks to them (effortlessly fulfilling your second resolution). You can send them to more seminars, plan team-building retreats, consider mentorship programs, and listen to (and act on) their queries/feedback.
Even if you spend a little more time or money, these resources are investments, since you will reap the rewards in improved morale and capability, increased employee satisfaction, increased productivity and almost-fanatical loyalty to your business. If you care about your team’s careers, they will care about your business.
In 2021, I will be deliberate about my wellness.
Everyone needs to cultivate a healthy work-life balance, as it is critical to thriving mental health. Deliberately protecting our mental headspace ensures that our minds and bodies remain in great shape to perform optimally in the workplace. Still, few leaders take time to rejuvenate and care for their mental well-being.
What does this look like?
- Sleeping for at least 7-9 hours every night to provide adequate rest for the body and mind
- Performing gentle exercise, which allows you to work with a clearer mind and better mood
- Eating regular and balanced meals, and hydrating regularly
- Practicing mindful breathing and meditation to alleviate stress and anxiety throughout the day
- Seeing a mental health professional to deal with stressors or trauma that impacts your well-being
- Making time outside of work to do what you love, like spending time with family and focusing on hobbies
In 2021, I will not be afraid to make changes.
Moving on is much harder than it sounds, especially for team leaders. However, leaders need the wisdom to know that a specific technique, process, product, or another aspect of the business isn’t working. It isn’t easy, especially when these are projects you have dedicated immense time, energy, and resources towards. But in the end, you should be able to admit to yourself that something isn’t working and let it go.
Leadership is the place of tough decisions, but you must be willing to bite this bullet so that your team’s energies are not spent on fruitless endeavors.
New Year’s Resolutions That You Can Keep
Even if you have heard that most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by February, don’t lose heart. Begin by documenting your goals and sharing them with people who can help you to stick to them. Adding the accountability and support of external parties makes you more likely to succeed than working alone. Break down the goals into small, manageable portions, and as the year progresses, track your progress against them.