As we come to the end of another year, many of us will look back on the twelve months behind us to assess our strengths, better understand our areas of improvement, and determine what our goals will be in the New Year. It’s an exciting time for most people. January brings with it the feeling of a fresh start. As the saying goes: out with the old and in with the new. It’s a time for vision-casting, for thinking big, and for deciding who we want to be in the New Year and what we want to achieve.
As you develop and fine-tune your own goals for this coming year, here are some leadership lessons to keep in mind for 2018:
- Never Stop Learning
One of the biggest themes we’ve discussed on the blog this year is the importance of continual learning. Leaders know that there’s never a stopping point when it comes to your education. There’s always a new skill you can learn, another book you can read, a behavior you can fine-tune. The best leaders are never finished when it comes to learning. They regularly add to their knowledge base and take the time out to grow: whether that means pursuing professional coaching, joining a mastermind group, or simply investing time in personal development via books, podcasts, audiobooks, and more. This New Year, make your growth and development a priority. It will only serve to enhance what you bring to the table as a leader.
- Surround Yourself with High Achievers
You might’ve heard the saying: you can judge a man by the 5 people he spends the most time with. It’s very often true, especially in the workplace. Those who surround themselves with co-workers who have a tendency to complain or under-achieve or cut corners eventually tend to complain, under-achieve, and cut corners too. We mimic the actions and behaviours of friends, family, and colleagues more than we think. If you want to excel as a leader in the New Year, start surrounding yourself with high achievers. This can mean looking into local business meet-up’s for professionals or even joining a virtual mastermind such as our very own Shaping Change Inner Circle. When you keep company with people who are ambitious, driven, and committed to achieving the best, you’ll raise the stakes for your own expectations and surprise yourself by what you accomplish.
- Make Time for Yourself
It may sound counterintuitive, but if you want to achieve more in the New Year, it’s essential that you sometimes step away from work to detox. As it turns out, being a workaholic doesn’t always mean that you end up getting more done. In fact, working nonstop can instead lead to more errors and worse: long-term burnout. Effective leaders know that it’s important to strike a balance between work and play. This New Year, why not try out a new hobby? Sports in particular are great at stress reduction, as physically moving your body releases endorphins that naturally make you happy. Not athletic? That’s fine. Even hobbies such as reading, completing crossword puzzles, gardening, and other more quiet activities can stimulate the brain and give you a sense of fulfillment. What’s important is reconnecting with yourself in order to maintain peace and happiness, so that when you’re at work, you’re rejuvenated and putting forth your best work.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things
Sometimes, leaders can get comfortable. Your team may be working efficiently and you’re on track with meeting your goals. But there occasionally comes a time when things start to feel a little stale. There are some leaders who’ll decide not to push the envelope and continue as-is. But then there are leaders who innovate. Think of some of the most well-known brands today: Apple, Google, Amazon—at the helm of these companies were leaders who were tired of the status quo and wanted to elevate the way their industry was run. Do you have an idea for a new initiative you’ve been wanting to run by the CEO for some time? Maybe this is the year you do it. Want to start incorporating more team-building activities for your employees? Why not give it a try. A leader should never be afraid to try new things, because on the edge of change is always the potential to bring you, your team, and your company as a whole to exciting new levels.
The New Year is the perfect time to pause, reflect, and assess. As you look back on 2017, what can you say were your strengths? What areas do you need to improve upon? What skills would you like to fine-tune, and what kind of leader do you want to be in the New Year? Take some time out to dig deep into each of these questions. Then let yourself be guided by the leadership lessons above. When you do so, you’ll be sure to make this year your best one yet.