1. Ask more questions
Leadership is all about listening and constant learning. We don’t learn anything if we are always talking. Ask questions of your staff, your family or friends and find out what really makes them tick. Try to begin fewer sentences with ‘I,’ - you’ll probably be surprised at how many times you say it. From a business point of view your staff may have some suggestions about how they can work better on certain projects; make sure you have heard what they have to say. If you’re not sure on how to move forward with a decision that will affect everyone, open it up to the floor.
‘Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game’. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
2. Stop striving for perfection
It might seem like a strange resolution at first, but once you let yourself off the hook you’ll find you can get more done. If you’re someone who is a perfectionist in everything you do, you’re putting pressure on yourself daily to produce something that doesn’t exist. I’m not suggesting that you produce half-baked work; only that you and your team realise that sometimes doing the best you can is good enough.
3. Creativity doesn’t have to be original
The most innovative of your ideas will probably not be 100% original. The key to their success is that they work well for you at the time. Spend time researching organisations like yours with similar challenges – how have they resolved the problem? Would this be relevant for you?
“Originality doesn’t rely on creating something from nothing. It relies on putting together ideas and materials in new ways.” - ‘The Truth About Innovation’ by Max McKeown
4. The Five-Minute Plan
At the end of each day make yourself a plan for tomorrow. This could be at the very end of the day before bed, or at the close of your working day. Include one item you will enjoy doing or one quick-win that you can end the day in a high with.
Your Five Minute Plan should be achievable in one day and is not the same as a running to-do list, which you should keep separate. It seems obvious, but do take into account how long each task will take and try to never set out more items than you can achieve in one day. If there are things you know you can’t complete the next day, make sure you manage the expectations of the people involved. You will sleep more soundly knowing you are not about to let anyone down.
5. Starve yourself of negativity
January is a dark time of the year, and can be a quiet time for business as well so this is a tricky one, but stick with it. Start with just one day where you try to only use positive language all day long. If you had a crummy start the day, try to turn it around by focusing on the positive things around you.
By eliminating the negative language from all your exchanges in the day you’ll be surprised at the instant feedback you’ll receive from those around you. When this happens you’ll start to feel genuinely good, and what started as an effort turns into habit.