New Year’s Resolutions the Best Leaders Commit to Every Year

New year resolutions

It’s that time of the year again. The time to make resolutions to make 2020 your best professional year ever. 

If you are anything like me, you have made your fair share of resolutions over the years only to make excuses for yourself when you give up on them. Turns out you aren’t alone.  The latest research shows 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by the second week of February. 

In order to make this year different for you, it starts with level setting what a resolution actually is. A resolution is defined as; a firm decision to do or not to do something.

The key to creating resolutions that stick is to make firm decisions about things that are extremely important to you and are attainable to complete. Let’s say you want to make a resolution about drinking less alcohol.  Instead of making a resolution to give up alcohol for the entire year make a commitment to give it up for January. Then keep tabs on how you are feeling and commit to February if you like where you are headed.  

If you are looking for some ideas to make 2020 your best leadership year ever, here are a few resolutions the best leaders commit to every year by making firm decisions and sticking with them: 

Ask for feedback about how they are leading

The best leaders know how important it is to do a gut check on how they are doing from a leadership perspective.  The best way to get this feedback is by asking their people where they are strong and where they need to improve.    

Turns out this isn’t a typical practice for most organizational leaders. After assessing over 40,000 leaders in all different industries and roles, the weakest leadership competency is asking for feedback.  

Resolution: Commit to the act of gathering unbiased feedback about yourself from your team through the BTB 360° Leader Assessment or something similar. 

Communicate why the team is doing what they do

When work and life get busy, it’s easy to lose sight of the long term view on life and work.  While this is normal, it isn’t what the best leaders do. They double down and constantly remind their team about why their work matters and who they are doing it for.  This isn’t something they live up to chance.  

If you aren’t sure if you have done this, ask a few team members, “why do we do what we do every day.”  If the first thing that comes out of their mouth is “money” or “I don’t know,” you have some work to do.  

Resolution: Allocate a day or more with your team to review purpose, mission, vision, values.  Use the time to invite discussion and collaboration.  

Reject negativity and naysayers

I am not breaking any news here but succeeding in today’s business environment is hard. This means there is more opportunity for failure and negative energy to infiltrate a team than ever before.

The best leaders don’t allow negativity to have a place in their culture. They set the standard that negativity doesn’t have a place on their team and if/when they hear it, they make it everyone’s responsibility to squash it.  If negativity continues, the person who is bringing it must find another place to work, regardless of how great of a performer they are.

Resolution: Make rejecting negativity everyone’s responsibility (not just yours). Try “No Negativity January.”

Focus on the most important things each day

The average professional gets 121 emails per day, exchanges 67 texts per day and checks their phone over 80 times per day.  This means there are distractions coming from every angle at all times of the day.   

The best leaders know this and set up their day to work on and achieve the most important things each day.  My friend and entrepreneur Mac Lackey taught me about a secret called WMN. It stands for “What Moves the Needle.” 

Resolution –  Use a 3×5 notecard every single day and write down the most important things you are going to accomplish on each day.

Get the #1 Best New Management Book to Read in 2019 by Book AuthorityBuilding the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success is published by McGraw-Hill. Learn the stories, principles, and tools to help elevate the way you lead others.

Ultimate Leadership Academy: Join the 8-week virtual leadership development academy to elevate the way you lead. Learn more here.

About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company that exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. He is currently booking events and speaking engagements for 2020. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

6 Leadership Trends to Know in 2020

People 2020

Becoming a great leader requires taking proactive steps to improve your leadership capabilities. But there’s more to it than that.

Engaged leaders need to stay on top of the current trends influencing their company, industry, employees and themselves. To ensure that you’re ready, focus on these five (plus a bonus) leadership trends in 2020:

1. Increase in Flexible Time 

The experimentation of a 4-day workweek has begun. Microsoft Japan’s 4 Day workweek improved performance by 40%, and Shake Shack’s 4-Day Manager workweek was a solution for labor costs. 

While there is no doubt about the financial advantages of shorter workweeks, employees are looking for more flexibility in their life. With 5G on the horizon and phones as powerful as computers used to be, there is no reason this trend won’t skyrocket in popularity. A recent study showed that 90% of employees said flexible arrangements would increase morale. 

Leaders not only need to be open to looking for ways to give their teams more flexibility, but they should be investing in technology that helps support them be productive whenever and wherever and they are working. 

2. Learning to Lead Remote Workers

The first trend is feeding the second trend because as flexible scheduling increases, so does the number of people who work remote. A recent Remote.co study reported 66% of companies to allow remote work, and 16% are fully remote. 

With the reduced cost for employers and reduced commute times for employees, this trend will continue to skyrocket. As beneficial as it can be, leading remote team members has unique challenges versus leading a team working in the same space every day.  

Here are a few of my favorite strategies from a recent episode of the Follow My Lead Podcast:

  • Remember remote team members are human
  • Build and maintain trust-based relationships
  • Set clear standards
  • Constantly communicate culture
  • Get them together face-to-face

3. More and More Accountability

Accountability and radical transparency are buzzwords right now because we need more of it in our organizations. As quickly as the news travels (thanks twitter), executive leaders can’t afford to hoard critical information from their employees. On the flip side, an increase in flexibility and remote work is ratcheting up the need for personal accountability in employees and managers. 

You will see more and more training and development opportunities for managers to improve their skills around accountability and having direct dialogues.  

4. Increase in female leaders

A global study of women in management by Catalyst in 2019 showed that the number of women in senior roles globally is increasing incrementally. However, 29% of senior management roles are held by women, the highest number ever on record.

A report from the Peterson Institute for International Economics found a direct correlation between female leadership and profitability. According to the report, “A profitable firm at which 30 percent of leaders are women could expect to add more than 1 percentage point to its net margin compared with an otherwise similar firm with no female leaders.”

Women are effective and productive in positions of leadership. The challenge to Human Resource departments and organizations is helping develop their leadership skills so they can promote women leaders from within. In our business at LearnLoft, we have seen a significant increase in educational opportunities for women, which we expect to continue. It also doesn’t hurt to have some incredible role models such as Rachel Hollis, Sarah Blakely, and Arianna Huffington, to name a few.  

5. Employees Developing New Skills

As quickly as AI and Bots are progressing, many jobs will continue to evaporate. As I wrote in Building the Best, “We live in a world that’s constantly evolving, and as people grow or roles morph, people need to acquire new skills.”

Instead of chalking up massive layoffs to employees, leaders will need to help develop new skills in these people. Peyton Manning famously said, “the most valuable player is the one who makes the most players valuable.” While leaders can’t make people develop new skills, they must influence and challenge them to take the necessary steps.

 Large organizations will eventually look like current universities, and they will train workers out of high school instead of them going to college. In the meantime, we need leaders to have their coaching and development hat on at all times.  

6. Human Resources for the Win

Human Resources professionals will continue their climb to being more strategic and important in organizations. Instead of simply being called in for hiring and firing decisions, they will play a major role in business decisions and making organizations more authentic and human.

Are you poised to lead your team in the right direction in 2020? As you learn more about current trends and apply them appropriately to your leadership or company, you can have confidence in the course of you’re on.

What leadership trends are you seeing that I might have missed?

Ultimate Leadership Academy: Join the 8-week virtual leadership development academy to elevate the way you lead. Learn more here.

Elevate the Way You LeadBuilding the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success is published by McGraw-Hill. It was named the #1 Best New Management Books to Read by Book Authority. Learn the stories, principles, and tools to help elevate the way you lead others.

About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company that exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. He is currently booking events and speaking engagements for 2020. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.