A Leadership Agenda for 2013

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What I love about a new year are the expectations and anticipation reserved for something new. We permit ourselves to mentally travel back in time and revisit the old and peer into what worked and what didn’t. Many of us then become resolute to change or continue doing whatever our mental time travel revealed to us.

Certainly resolutions have many downsides. But it can be empowering to look at our own humanity, accomplishments, failures and investigate what can be learned and acted on.

 

Our best work suffers, and our leadership is weakened when we don’t find and reach for the proverbial pause button

 

It is with the above intent that I present to you a possible leadership agenda for 2013.

The following items are geared towards individual leadership action. Consider it a personal agenda for growth.

Make Time for Solitude

Daily competing demands tug at our attention and distort our perspective on what’s important. We hastily run from one meeting to the next with little to no time to reflect on what was discussed, decided. By day’s end we have depleted our energy and mental capacity.

Our best work suffers, and our leadership is weakened when we don’t find and reach for the proverbial pause button.

The competing demands and distractions are not likely to subside. Leaders must make room on their calendars for solitude. Time defended as vigorously as other people’s meetings (needs from you). Use solitude to read over meeting notes. Plan. Strategize. Read papers relevant to your profession. Meditate. Pray.

 

Create a sense of unity and expand team identity amongst virtual and onsite team members

 

Go Deep with Employees

Connect with your employees beyond understanding their workload or project updates. Make it a priority to get to know the whole employee: both the professional and personal aspirations and interests.

Explore social technology like Google+ or Salesforce to expand how employees interact and communicate with each other. These help create a sense of unity and expand team identity amongst virtual and onsite team members.

 

Don’t leave visual reminders of loss

 

Create an Environment of Optimism and Joy

2013 will not likely see easing of local and global economic hardships. The dirty “L” word – layoffs – are likely to cross executive lips throughout the year. Not exactly morale boosters.

Look for ways to counter the negative influences of the economy. If you have empty cube areas from all those layoffs, rearrange the area to make better use of the space. Don’t leave visual reminders of loss.

Discover employees’ strengths

Know what each person on your team’s strengths are and find ways to align them with work they currently do or could do. This is a great collaborative exercise to do with your team.

 

Simply look to the fiscal cliff fiasco for reasons why it’s important to think beyond positional leaders’ needs and agendas

 

Explore consequences of management decisions

Play out the impact of decisions on employees. Simply look to the fiscal cliff fiasco for reasons why it’s important to think beyond positional leaders’ needs and agendas. Managers (and politicians) can get too close to a problem and be blinded to how employees’ might interpret a decision and ensuing concerns they might have.

 

If I were to summarize the “why” behind the items listed, it would be this:

  • Focus on workplace elements you can influence or control that make working with you rewarding and worthy of staying.
  • Counter the uncertainty that hovers over organizations and our country with meaningful work and a motivating work environment.

2013 will be another tough year for employees and organizations. Your leadership can provide some needed guidance and reassurance that together you and your team can grow stronger.

 

Graphic by ImPact Design

 

Change Leader | Speaker | Writer Co-founder and CEO of Switch and Shift. Passionately explores the space where business & humanity intersect. Promoter of workplace optimism. Believes work can be a source of joy. Top ranked leadership blogger by Huffington Post. The Optimistic Workplace (AMACOM) out 2015

  • Shawn, it won’t surprise you to know that my experience with my clients is that discovering employees’ strengths is a very powerful tool. When employees uncover their strengths for themselves, it’s even better. As that happens, the organization starts to notice its strengths.

  • Love this Shawn. You are off to a fantastic start in 2013. I really hope more leaders find this site and read (and apply) what is here.

    Thanks for all you do, man.

    Al

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