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ATD Blog

Nine Leadership Resolutions for the New Year


Tue Jan 08 2013


(From Forbes) -- While we are busy making resolutions to better ourselves for the coming year, an area that doesn’t receive enough focus is to be resolute about becoming a better leader. Sure we have resolutions for weight loss, cessation of bad habits, and getting more organized, but few leaders actually resolve to become, better leaders. Many of us have the desire to achieve more in 2013, and if you are in a leadership capacity of any kind, even as an individual contributor, there are few things that you control that will help you to achieve those goals as much as improving your leadership ability.

So here are nine things that you can resolve to do in order to become a better leader.


1. Don’t forget your strengths. We tend to think of making improvements by correcting weaknesses, yet the best leaders stand out with the presence of great strengths. That is not to say that correcting a weakness or fixing a flaw isn’t useful, but think about the best leaders you have worked with and odds are, they were excellent because of something they did profoundly well. Consider your strong points and how to leverage and build on them. If you don’t know them, ask a colleague or two that you trust or even think about using a 360-degree feedback instrument.

2. Stop multi-tasking when engaging with another person. Having multiple windows open while working on a computer doesn’t offend other open windows. Yet doing the same when people are involved has the effect of leaving them feeling they are less important. When engaging with other people, don’t email, text, or pay attention to someone else. Provide your undivided attention. If you must take another call, apologize and if appropriate, reschedule your time together. Don’t keep them waiting for you.

3. Communicate more powerfully. Unless you are crafting something with your hands, your primary tool in business is language. Use examples and metaphors from other elements of business, literature, or current events to illustrate your points. Improve your vocabulary and integrate new words and phrases as you become more interesting and even exciting to listen to. Don’t forget your tone, emphasis and non-verbal communication as well. It all plays a part in how powerfully you are received.

4. Assert yourself. Leaders need to step up and be visible. Whether you are advocating a new point of view, supporting a customer, or sponsoring an employee for a promotion a little bit of extra assertiveness can help all leaders. Don’t worry about being pushy. Be polite. State your position and be firm. I am frequently surprised by how many leaders I work with default to a deferential position when working with superiors and even peers. That doesn’t mean to not allow for other perspectives, but it does mean to actively promote your own.

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