Leadership scholar John Maxwell is well-known for describing what he believes to be the 21 indispensable qualities of a leader. These qualities, when adopted, will allow you to be the type of leader that others want to follow. However, trying to tackle the development or enhancement of all of these qualities all at once can be a bit of a challenge.
So, with the new year around the corner, why not set your New Year’s Leadership Resolutions instead of declaring to go to the gym more, eat better, or curb your spending? OK…you can do those things as well, but we know how often we break those! Rather, consider carving out three things that you can focus on in 2017 to improve your leadership capacity; it will be far more manageable. With that in mind, here are my suggestion of qualities to improve that you can add to your New Year’s resolutions.
Enhance Your Character. Character is the foundation of successful leadership and is the blending of your values, beliefs, and traits. A simple thing you can do to enhance your character is to pay attention to your actions. After all, your followers are. Ask yourself, Am I open to new ideas and experiences? Am I conscientious in all of my tasks? Am I agreeable? Ideally, you will want to answer these questions with a resounding “Yes!” Paying attention to your actions and how others perceive them will go a long way in strengthening your character.
Improve Your Commitment. One of my favorite Maxwell quotes is, “When you make a commitment, you create hope. When you keep a commitment, you create trust.” The reality is that for most people, things “get away” from us. Keeping track of what we have committed to and following through is an easy goal to achieve. Take advantage of various tools and apps that can help you with this resolution. Look at how you are spending your time and determine if you are really focusing on critical tasks and making progress towards your obligations. As you demonstrate your ability to keep your word, others around you will know that you are trustworthy.
Boost Your Communication Style: Communication is not only critical for effective leadership, but for successful government work. There are many ways in which you can improve your verbal, nonverbal, or written communication; but delivering an engaging message is the one skill in which many struggle. Look for ways to simplify your message. After all, it’s not just what you say, but also how you say it. Using language that is common to those with whom you work and avoiding annoying phrases and words, can go a long way. Finally, consider alternate ways of delivering your message, using a variety of methods including email, town hall meetings, social media, memos, or one-on-one interactions.
As you prepare to close out 2016 and look forward to 2017, consider these resolutions to put you on track of being an outstanding leader. Doing so will build a better relationship with your followers and create commitment and engagement within your organization.
Tricia S. Nolfi is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.
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