It’s time to evaluate your leadership routines for the year ahead.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? The statistics on the success of most resolutions are pretty discouraging: most people quit on their resolutions by January 19, according to one survey.
Why do so many people fail to follow through? Do they choose the wrong goals? I don’t think so. Speaking from my own experience, any new goal or resolution ultimately means changing one’s behavior.
So, when it comes to resolutions, some people believe they can completely change their lives overnight. That’s admirable but unrealistic. Others set goals without making a clear plan for how they’ll achieve them or specifically identifying how their normal routines will need to change.
Over the last eighteen months, our natural leadership routines have been upended. What we took for granted as leaders seemed to change overnight as almost everyone had to contend with the new realities of remote and hybrid work.
As we start 2022, we know hybrid work will be here to stay in one way or another. Many of my customers are using 2022 as the year to start accepting and addressing hybrid work models with more intention. Is this happening in your own organization?
Without dedicated focus on your leadership routines, you can easily slide into mediocrity.
One of the key aspects of accountable leaders that I admire is their sense of deliberateness and focus on their leadership.
If you don’t focus specifically on elevating your game as a leader, and honing your critical leadership routines, you may find it all too easy to slide into mediocrity. Without effective leadership routines, you may become a slave to your circumstances. For example, when a deadline looms, it’s often easier to jump in and do the work yourself than it is to coach and lead your team to get the job done. When someone on your team isn’t performing, it’s easy to put off confronting the issue, especially when there are a thousand other things demanding your attention. When you’re swamped with work, it’s easy to let things like building relationships with colleagues fall by the wayside.
But as a leader, you won’t be successful in the long term if you don’t make time to do the hard work of leadership and commit to being deliberate about your leadership routines.
WHAT TO PAY ATTENTION TO
Set leadership routines for three levels of accountability: yourself, your team, and your organization.
At the start of any year, it’s a good time to think about how you will need to step up to continue to be an accountable leader.
- Understand your leadership context. What has changed in your company? What are the key strategic priorities that you and your team must deliver in 2022? Finally, what does this all mean to how you need to step up as a leader?
- Assess your leadership routines. What critical leadership practices that have served you well must continue? Set goals for how your routines may need to change or new ones you will need to establish.
- Identify a few key leadership routines to put into practice. In working with many senior leaders over the years, I find each one has a few key routines they rely on in their leadership roles. Some use daily team huddles. Others have regular 1:1s with their team members. Some leaders block off a half day or full day a month to just think about their business and the future, with no distractions. What leadership routines will you need to put in place?
When you’re thinking about your routines the upcoming year, focus on three levels of leadership accountability. Start by identifying routines to improve your own accountability. These might include:
- Getting feedback from others on your effectiveness as a leader
- Addressing performance issues as they come to your attention
- Ensuring that once a week you take a few minutes to reflect on your leadership accountability
Next, set routines for your team—not just for the tasks you need to accomplish together, but for how you’ll increase your team’s accountability through the year. These routines might include:
- Regularly communicating the strategy to your team members to create team clarity
- Setting up a consistent meeting structure to ensure you have productive team members
- Ensuring you set aside time with your team to get to know each other personally and have some fun
Finally, identify the leadership routines that are broader in focus. Here are some examples to consider:
- Reaching out regularly to colleagues to build crucial relationships
- Improving the working relationship between your team and another team
- Committing to direct conversations with colleagues about any performance issues existing between your teams
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
My own experience
I have found leadership routines to be invaluable in my own leadership role.
- I spend time every Sunday evening reflecting on my leadership, the week that has passed, and the week ahead. It gives me focus and helps me be more deliberate.
- When it comes to team accountability, my team and I have a Monday morning huddle to review the priorities of the week, get a quick status update on all projects, and bring focus to everyone’s activities. The other key leadership routine I have is a 1:1 meeting with each team member. It is really their meeting and their time to let me know how they are doing and provide me with any feedback I need to be more effective in supporting their success.
- And when it comes to shared accountability and building a sense of community, I make a point to regularly reach out to my customers and network and set up quick calls to see how they are doing, discuss how our projects are landing, or just connect to see how they are doing.
These are fundamental routines that I have committed to for a long time and have served me well.
With time and dedicated attention to your critical leadership routines, you can improve not only your own leadership and your team’s performance, but your company’s leadership culture. When you step up to become more accountable, your actions ripple outwards, raising the bar for all your colleagues.
What will be your critical leadership routines for 2022?Gut Check for Leaders
Note: A version of this article recently appeared in Forbes. You can read that article here.
- Forbes: Start the year right by evaluating your leadership routines
- Community starts with building relationships at work
- A mid-year gut check on team performance and accountability
- 5 do’s and don’ts when making a SMART goal
More Leadership Resources
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