Make These Leadership Resolutions for 2016

If you have a habit of making grand New Year’s resolutions like training for a marathon or going to the gym every day at 5 a.m., and always fail, then it may be time to change your tactics. Instead of making a personal resolution, try making a resolution for your professional life.

Whether you resolve to pursue an online MBA degree or make a pledge to log out of your email at 7 p.m. every day, professional resolutions can be easier to keep than personal resolutions. Not only can you share your goals with co-workers to hold yourself accountable, you can also make your resolution a part of your annual objectives with your manager or team.

Leadership resolutions can be especially beneficial because they impact your employees as well. To help you get started, try adopting one of the following leadership resolutions for 2016.

Improve the Way You Manage Multiple Generations

As the average age of retirement increases, it is becoming more common for leaders to manage professionals from multiple generations. While you’re likely to have a strong understanding of what your own generation looks for in a work environment, you may struggle to relate to professionals from other generations.

These weak spots in your management practices can lead to greater generational conflict between your employees, unequal opportunities, and frustration for everyone on the team.

To improve your intergenerational management skills, start by recognizing your own biases and seeking out educational resources to fill in your knowledge gaps. In addition to formal training, make more time for one-on-one conversations with professionals who belong to other generations.

Examine your company’s work environment and consider if it caters to one generation in particular. If so, you don’t need to overhaul your company’s culture. Simply be aware of employees who may feel out of place and start a conversation about ways to bridge those differences.

Embrace Collective Leadership

The subject of collective leadership has been picking up steam in recent years. While there is no single definition of collective leadership, this idea involves shifting the focus from an individual leader and emphasizing the shared goals and direction of a group.

If you’re used to hierarchical leadership structures, the thought of collective leadership may make you skeptical. However, adopting this approach helps organizations attract talented professionals from younger generations and gives all employees a greater sense of investment in their organization.

There are a number of strategies you can implement to foster an environment of collective leadership. Increasing transparency and access to knowledge is an effective way to encourage employees to take more initiative and make more meaningful contributions to your organization.  

You can also step back and allow employees to take greater responsibility for their performance. Instead of jumping to provide them with your answer to a problem, ask them to brainstorm possible solutions.

Another innovative way to encourage collective leadership is to implement rotating leadership positions, with a different professional managing the team for each project. Not only does this practice allow every team member to develop leadership skills, but it also improves group dynamics by giving everyone insight into other team member’s roles.

Multitask Less, Engage More

How many times have you found yourself reading and responding to emails while you’re on the phone or in a meeting? Multitasking has become almost second nature for many professionals.

While this skill can be useful in some situations, it’s almost never productive when you’re talking with your employees. By failing to give them your full attention, you’re conveying the message that your conversation with them doesn’t take precedence over other tasks.

When you don’t devote your full attention to your employees, you’re giving them the green light for the same behavior. So don’t be surprised when they’re drafting reports during strategy sessions and client calls.

Listening is one of the most important skills a leader can develop. By fully engaging with your employees, you’re more likely to earn their respect, elicit better results, and create a positive work environment.

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