10 New Year’s Resolutions for Managers

Now’s the time of year when everyone starts considering what they’ll do in the new year. Maybe you want to get to the gym every day or start projects around the house that you’ve been putting off. Or, perhaps you’re anti-resolution altogether. If you haven’t already, consider setting some work goals for yourself as a manager in 2018 (or revamping these efforts if you’re already working toward them). Here are 10 to get you started.

  1. Listen and act: Talking at your staff likely won’t yield the results you’re looking for. Instead, ask for opinions and feedback. Create an open-door policy, and let everyone on your team know that they’re always welcome to share their comments and concerns. But remember, it’s important to act on your team’s feedback when you can. Simply listening won’t be enough. You need to show them that you value their input enough to find solutions to their concerns and implement their ideas.
  2. Give constructive criticism: At some point, someone on your team will do something wrong. It’s important that these moments become learning opportunities for staff rather than a chance to be criticized by the boss. Provide feedback on what the individual could have done differently and work together to find a solution.
  3. Lead by example: If you come to work grumpy every day, gossip with your co-workers, and consistently criticize management, your team will do the same. Yes, we all have bad days, but if you try to keep your attitude positive most of the time, provide kudos to your staff when appropriate, and roll up your sleeves and help out when necessary, your team will get a morale boost and is likely to be more productive.
  4. Give your staff room to grow: Challenge your team by giving them tasks that encourage them to grow and develop new skills. And recognize that, sometimes, they might fail at a new task, but that shouldn’t invite criticism or micromanagement from you. Create for your team a place where they can feel comfortable learning from each other and their own mistakes.
  5. Create better work-life balance: As much as you can, stop emailing your staff after hours because it sets up an expectation that you want them to respond. And get rid of any expectation you have that everyone will put in the same hours as you or work evenings or weekends from home. Sometimes, time consuming projects will arise that require more effort from staff, but don’t make that the norm. Your team will be more productive if they have adequate time outside of the office to decompress and partake in activities they enjoy.
  6. Engage your staff: Not sure how to move forward on a new directive? Trying to come up with a creative solution to a problem? Look to your team for their input. You don’t always need to bear the brunt of management alone. Consider delegating tasks (as appropriate) or just asking for feedback.
  7. Help your workers better themselves: Encourage your staff to attend continuing education courses or conferences that interest them, and if you can, help them find the funding to do so. If the budget isn’t there, start a brown bag lunch series and invite leaders from your organization (or other teams or managers) to share an interesting project, information on their day-to-day duties, or anything else that might interest staff. If there’s a specific skill most of your team struggles with, see if you can find an expert at your agency to provide a crash course.
  8. Be a better communicator: Take some time to think about how you communicate with your team and others in your organization, and then consider how your current efforts could be improved upon. Maybe you need to set aside more face time for working with staff versus sending emails or perhaps you’re taking up too much time with all-staff meetings with issues that would be better addressed (and perhaps more clearly addressed) via email. This is a great opportunity to engage your team by asking them how you can improve.
  9. Network: Networking doesn’t stop when you become the boss. There are still plenty of things you can learn from those both inside and outside of your current work and personal networks, and you never know who you might meet or whether that individual could help your team overcome a problem. Plus, a little bit of career growth for yourself is never a bad thing.
  10. Better yourself: It’s important to accept that, even as a manager, there’s always something out there to learn. Think about your weaknesses as a manager (or even generally within your agency). Maybe you’d like to learn more about a certain topic, expand your skills in a computer program, or enhance your overall managerial skillset. Whatever it may be, look around for conferences, classes, webinars, etc. that you can use to continue improving. And, be sure you’re giving yourself a breather. You’ll be much better as a manager if, like your team, you’re also taking the time away from work that you need to destress.

What’s on your managerial resolution list for 2018? Share with us in the comments!

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Megan Dotson

This is a great list! I think you could even tie in being more empathetic into work-life balance? Perhaps allowing for more non-work related conversations to understand when or why employees may be excited or sad. Can also help us understand how to better motive our teams to be more productive.

Thanks for sharing!

Joe Antoshak

I really like the No. 3 point, about leading by example. Bringing a positive attitude to work can have far-reaching benefits for overall morale. It’s contagious!

Tim Dendy

Hello Heather, great article. These topics are all important in management and I agree that the start of the new year is a good time to work on them.