It’s easy to get into a rut – becoming so focused on just clearing the paperwork from your desk, managing people, keeping the business going, that we forget all the things that we loved about our career choice in the first place. While everyone is considering their personal resolutions for the new year, here are ten Leadership Resolutions you might do well to remember:
Leadership Resolution #1. Trust Your Gut. Sometimes we have nothing else to go by. And after 20 years of industry – and more importantly, life – experiences, my instincts have served me well, sometimes better than all the statistics and analytics combined. Draw upon your knowledge, your breadth of experience and your gut to make decisions and you’ll not only go further, but you’ll find that peers and other professionals will come to you for advice. There is no better way to be seen as a thought leader than to go against the grain – and with your own gut.
Leadership Resolution #2. Get Personal. Add a personal anecdote or story to get your point across, or use a personal experience to draw a connection. One of the most difficult blogs for me to write (and share) was about learning how to be a good beginner. I made some really stupid mistakes when I was starting my career, and a few of those were a little embarrassing to share. But, it also let people know that I was no different from anyone else. That blog is one of my highest shared and viewed, and I believe it’s because I allowed myself to be personal – and vulnerable – in sharing valuable lessons.
Leadership Resolution #3. Stay Curious. Steve Jobs said it best… “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” It’s easy to get caught in the trap of day-to-day tactics. But don’t lose sight of what’s next. Keep an open mind, be always a student – open to learning about new tactics and trends. The curious part of yourself – that child within you – is what brings out your creativity, the passion in your eyes – and ultimately, what keeps us all moving forward to tomorrow.
Leadership Resolution #4. Put the Bad Day(s) Behind You. Listen, we all have them. Bad days, mistakes, failures… these are lessons that bring us that much closer to each success. Accept the day, shake it off and start fresh tomorrow. That’s the great thing about a day – it only lasts 24 hours.
Leadership Resolution #5. Learn More. Never be complacent. Especially in an industry that is always changing – and fast – like communications and marketing. Stay current by attending seminars and webinars, and training or speaking engagements.
Leadership Resolution #6. Demand Excellence. Good enough never is. If you wouldn’t settle for it from an employee, don’t accept it from yourself.
Leadership Resolution #7. Keep Your Passion It’s easy, especially when you are trying to build up a small business, to get dragged down by the constant to-do list of “unbillable” work. No matter how much “busy work” you must do in a day, always make time for creativity. Build it into each day to keep that spark lit. Passion for your work is what brought you here in the first place. There might be hundreds, even thousands, of professionals in the exact same industry – but not one of them has your unique blend of passion, drive, personality, creativity and success. Own it!
Leadership Resolution #8. Own Your Mistakes. Speaking of owning it… Don’t let anyone else take the fall for your mistakes. You make them, you own them. And while you’re at it, own your successes, too. Believe me, you can’t get to one without the other. And owning both will lead to greater respect both within yourself and from others.
Leadership Resolution #9. Share Your Knowledge. This has become the mantra of social media. It’s what content marketing was founded upon. The more we learn, the more we share. That’s not to say that you should give every bit of your expertise away free of charge. But when you share your insight, others will remember your name and your work when they are looking to hire someone with your expertise. So if you’re not active on social networks yet, now is the time! Get out there – and while you’re at it, volunteer to speak at an industry event, create a webinar or offer to serve as a guest lecturer at a local university. There are dozens of opportunities available to share knowledge – no more excuses for keeping it all to yourself!
Leadership Resolution #10. Be More Social. Close your laptop and meet with followers, colleagues, and industry peers offline. Getting face-to-face will allow you to create a deeper connection and forge lasting professional relationships. It’s networking 101!
Your turn: What is your #1 professional resolution for the new year? Anything from this list strike a chord? What did I forget? Please share your thoughts in the comments.