In my first post for the new year, I provided a short list of 4 resolutions that leaders should make as they start out in 2016. The list was as succinct as it was short.
As a reminder, here are the 4 resolutions that I think every leader should make for this year:
- Resolve to be a better leader
- Resolve to be a better follower
- Resolve to build another leader
- Resolve to build another follower
I provided a very brief description of what each resolution would mean and how it might manifest itself in our lives. But each resolution could use a little more “meat on the bones” don’t you think? If you agree, then let me start with the first resolution and let me expand a little or provide some greater context and resources.
Resolve This Year To Be A Better Leader
As I noted in my first post, this one is exceedingly obvious. Yet it is surprising how many leaders are not more intentional about developing their leadership skills. As leaders, this must be a central focus for us.
Stephen Covey made the theme of this resolution one of his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It is embodied in number seven when he reminds us of the importance of sharpening our saw. Covey says that we are to “Seek continuous improvement and renewal professionally and personally.”
As leaders, we often are so focused on developing those around us that we end up with little energy and drive to improve our own skill sets. Although we would like to think that neglecting to sharpen our saw will leave our saw still sharp enough to get the job done. But logic suggests that for Covey to make this a key principle, there must be some significant dulling and degradation done to our tools as we employ them day to day.
Make building your skills an important part of your own personal development plan for the coming year. Today is January 4, 2016, and for many of us, this will be our first day back in the office. We have tons of email to sift through and we have to touch base with our bosses and our teams. But make time in your day. Carve out some time or set an appointment with yourself to write out some specific developmental activities that will become a part of your personal and professional growth plan for 2016.
There are so many resources available to help us develop as leaders. Several resources jump to the forefront of my mind at the very thought of leadership development. As I indicated in my first post of 2016, I am a very big fan of things such as Leadercast and I have been a co-sponsor of one of the local simulcasts here in the Houston area. Leadercast occurs on May 6th this year. And many simulcast sites have “early bird” special discounts if you buy your tickets now. Go ahead, get out that debit card and register today for a Leadercast simulcast in your area.
There are also many books on leadership that can be obtained via Kindle at much lower costs rather than in hard copy. Nearly all of my favorite leadership books are in some eReader format.
Here are some great works that have stood the test of time and have outlived the many leadership fads that we have had to endure over the years:
- 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencione
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization by John Wooden
- Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
- Questions of Character: Illuminating the Heart of Leadership Through Literature by Joseph L. Badaracco Jr.
- On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis
All of these are available via the Leadership Voices Amazon eStore. If none of these are of interest to you, then just reach out to me if you are looking for resources and I can help you identify some. I have not read all of the above. But I am very familiar with their content or their creator.
2016 is upon us. And each of us will do well to be about the tasks of intentionally improving our leadership skills. If there is one thing that I would suggest to you, it would be this. Find someone in whom you have confidence that they are the kind of leader that you want to be. And enter into a mentoring relationship with them as your mentor. You will benefit greatly from it. And, as I will discuss in an upcoming article, they will benefit as well.
Good luck in creating your own personal leadership development plan. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or if you are looking for help in developing your personal plan.
Here is a link to some great little apps that may help you make and keep your resolutions. Most of the apps involve health and wellness since that is the bulk of most folks resolutions. But there are some other helpful ones as well, such as getting out of debt, planning a trip and volunteering in your community. All of which have leadership implications.