I had a very thought-provoking conversation with one of my Emerging Leader clients the other day about the lessons he’s learned from 2017. I asked him what he will do differently this year to make the most of the things he learned in the school of hard knocks in the year past. I thought he had come up with some incredibly self-aware insights into the learning of the past year, and his resolve to start the new year out on a new trajectory was inspiring enough that I asked for his permission to share his focus for the coming year with all of you. Let me know what you think of his concise list of important areas of focus for 2018, that would be fantastic!
2018 Business Leadership Resolutions (Morgan’s List)
- Eliminate the Impact of Fear and Insecurity on Decision-Making: Last year my client (we’ll call him Morgan) felt like he had inappropriately let his fears and insecurities affect the choices that he considered and ultimately the actions that he and his team took. This year will be different he vowed. He knows that he has sharpened his edge and is ready and proactively up to any challenge this year.
- Invest in Understanding the Motivations of His Team: Last year other things precluded him from making time to truly develop a systematic approach to motivating and inspiring his team of direct reports. This year, Morgan is making motivational profiles for each of his team a big priority. He and I both expect that he will be better able to inspire his team this year once he understands how he can help each of them win and get what they want while helping the team to win.
- Stop Hearing Only What You Want to Believe: Last year Morgan believed that things were going better than they really were right up until the end of July when he realized his year was getting away from him. The new year brings an opportunity for him to really learn to listen to his people and not edit their feedback and input to make it fit what he wants to hear. This year, he says, he is going to listen to all three of the big messages before he interprets what he’s being told. First, he’s going to listen to what he’s being told. Second, he’s going to pay attention to the tone of voice and pace of the conversation, and finally, he’s going to watch body language to see if it matches the other signs. This year, Morgan wants to live in the real world, as he put it, and leave living in the fantasy world to others.
- Stop Barking Out Orders at the Last Minute:Apparently, there were some times during 2017 when delegation was happening last minute and under duress in his world so, this year, Morgan is resolved to prepare his subordinates for meaningful delegations and allowing them to handle them at their speed. Better delegation is a big priority for 2018, and by preparing his people well in advance and by being very clear and concise with his team, the chances of success are greatly increased.
- Serve Others: One of the biggest revelations that my bright client reflected upon during the last few weeks was this one; that the best leaders are serving others first. He had it in his mind early last year that a manager’s role is to move the chess pieces around the board, and that the chess pieces (his people) were like chattel property and belonged to him. He realized during the year, that thinking of employees like property is not dignified, and it also doesn’t inspire great performance in anyone. So, this year, Morgan is going to take a new mindset with him into this year. He’s focused on serving his employees and helping them to develop at an accelerated pace. Second, he’s focused on serving his customers better, through his employees by equipping his employees to deliver better results than previously thought possible.
Well, that’s it. You have Morgan’s list. What do you think of it? Do you like it? Do you disagree with anything on his list? Do you think it’s missing anything critical? I’ll be honest; I think it’s a pretty decent start toward a better year of leadership from a guy who strung together a pretty good year in 2017, although he probably is more focused on the missed opportunities of 2017 than giving himself credit for what went right during this last year. I see great things ahead for this young man and believe that 2018 will be a great year of professional growth and development for Morgan and also for his team.
Michael is an award-winning executive development coach with a penchant for working with mid-sized companies in the technology space across the United States. Michael works with C-Suite Executives and their leadership teams to help them to implement transformative change and grow their culture into something that attracts talent and customer growth. Michael is actively engaged in helping these companies to develop the next generation of leaders that will fuel their growth and help their company to be industry leaders for many years to come. If you’d like to speak with Michael about bringing transformative change to YOUR company, or if you’d like help developing the next generation of leaders for YOUR company, send Michael an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.