Every new year brings resolutions for a fresh start. It’s often tempting to think in terms of dramatic changes. People fantasize about quitting their jobs and heading off to run a charter boat. They are embarrassed by their junk food diet and vow to lose forty pounds. They consider what it might be like to rebuild their identities in some far-off exotic location.
Why do New Year resolutions fail?
Usually, significant changes appear so daunting that one may do nothing and remain stuck and dissatisfied. Change is a process, not an event. Rather than break from our past with a single decision, it is often more effective to make small, subtle changes that steer us in the direction of what change we want to ultimately make. Focus on modest, achievable goals that put you on your desired path.
What 2021 resolutions do you intend to make in your leadership style?
The “tiny tweaks principle” can be helpful. In the frustration of the change process, we remind ourselves that small deliberate tweaks, infused with values and guided by a purpose, can make a huge difference in our leadership style.
Thinking small has real advantages. The cost of failure is comparatively low. When people realize that they have little to lose, they feel less pressure and more confidence. And the focus on modest, achievable goals provides tangible markers on your leadership journey. But what does this look like when applied to your everyday habits?
Where do I start?
I believe there are some important habits that we would do well to practice if we want to shape our leadership style this new year into an enlivening, nourishing, productive and abundant new year. Here are a few “tweaks” to get you started. Start with one and see how it goes.
- Be curious. Ask different questions. Be willing to ask seemingly dumb questions.
- Listen without judgement. Resist the temptation to interrupt. Be present. Don’t worry about the future or the past. Just be in the moment.
- Show some vulnerability. Do things you don’t comfortably know how to do. Stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone.
- Consume information from sources with which you disagree. Stephen Covey famously wrote in his bestseller “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” seek first to understand, then to be understood.
- Become a better student; become an editor who reads, digests and then forms your point of view.
- Quit trying to be an expert . . . even though you are! Be willing to admit you don’t know. Be willing to be wrong. Read widely and be eager to learn and grow.
- That fork in the road is the high road vs. the low road. By taking the high road, you are choosing to act in ways that are for the greater good of all, all the time. When you make decisions from your higher intentions you are inviting others to do the same in response. It sets the tone for creating more future positive gains.
Why not start practicing some of these habits right now? Why not blast 2020 into the past and begin 2021 from a positive, creative, and optimistic state of mind and intention? You can make the choice to embrace a leadership style that inspires people to do their best work.
Just a few degrees of change……
Any sea captain will tell you that if you steer a ship just a few degrees this way or that, you can completely alter its trajectory. Over the course of a long journey, it may end up hundreds of miles from where it would have been without that slight adjustment.
Helping to think of change in the same way can be extremely meaningful. Turn too sharply and you might capsize, but a slow, gentle, values-connected change will get you where you want to be.