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20 Inspiring Resolutions for Leaders

by Sara J. Baker, Ed.D.

It’s a new year and a time to make a fresh start. It can be difficult to set goals, especially after the last two years of pandemics, lockdowns, and quarantines. People are struggling more than ever and need an empathetic leader who are as concerned about listening to them as they are about meeting the next metric. As stress has increased for individuals, you may have also noticed an increase in toxicity in your workplace. The New Year is the perfect time to focus on spreading more positivity in the workplace and reducing the stressful effects of toxic negativity.

Behaviors spread through groups of people, it’s our natural herd response to initiate others. Think about when you see someone yawning, smiling or laughing. Well, it’s the same for negative behaviors. We can reduce toxicity by staying mindful of our actions and looking for ways to encourage more positive behaviors.

Check out our inspiring New Year’s leadership resolutions that leaders can set on a personal level, on a team level or as an entire company, which will help managers lead their teams through the next year successfully.

Resolution #1: Be empathetic

Empathy is the key to healthy relationships and an important factor in effective leadership. It prevents damaging things like fear, disappointment, frustration, anger and criticism from entering interactions with others while encouraging positive qualities such as compassion for self and other people, emotional intelligence (EQ), resilience, problem-solving skills, and more.

Leaders can show empathy in a number of ways, but some of the most important ones are listening and not judging. Leaders should always be willing to listen to their team members and not just hear them. Active listening involves being present, attentively hearing everything that is said, and not interrupting. It also involves reflecting back on what you heard to ensure that you understood correctly.

Resolution #2: Don’t miss out on opportunities that come your way

Leaders often miss out on opportunities because they’re too busy or don’t feel prepared. This is the year to take advantage of new opportunities and learn as much as possible. This can be hard if you feel like you’re already stretched too thin, but it’s important to seize opportunities as they come your way.

Don’t wait for problems to arise before taking action, be proactive instead. This means being creative in finding solutions to potential issues and identifying opportunities as they come up. Leaders who are reactive often have a harder time dealing with difficult situations as they tend to arise spontaneously without warning and can take the leader by surprise.

Resolution #3: Be more organized

This one is for the perfectionists out there. Leaders who are more organized tend to be more productive and efficient. Start by creating a system for organizing your work tasks, then move on to personal items such as your email inbox, calendar, and contact list. Having everything in order can help reduce stress and make it easier to find what you need when you need it.

Organization skills are key for leaders, especially when it comes to time management. When you’re organized, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s happening in your life and be able to plan for the future.

Being disorganized can lead to stress, as tasks tend to pile up and deadlines loom. It also makes it difficult to find things when you need them. Organization skills help leaders stay on top of their work, prioritize tasks, and avoid wasting time.

Time management is another essential skill for leaders. When you manage your time well, you’ll be able to accomplish more and have more free time. This is especially important for leaders because they often have a lot of responsibilities.

There are a number of tools and techniques that can help you become more organized and manage your time better. Experiment with a few until you find what works best for you.

Resolution #4: Get more exercise

Exercise leads to better emotional and physical health, which means that you will be able to focus on your work longer and help others with their issues at the end of a long day.

Exercise also makes you more productive as it releases endorphins that help improve your mood and energy levels. A positive attitude, which results from exercise, is an important leadership skill because people tend to mirror the attitudes of those around them.

Resolution #5: Embrace creativity in solving problems

Creativity is an important skill for leaders because they are constantly coming up with new solutions or ideas. Leaders should always be asking themselves, “What if?” Leaders who are creative can solve problems more effectively and come up with innovative solutions for difficult issues.

Asking questions, especially about difficult topics, is an important skill for leaders to have because they are often in a position where people come to them with problems or concerns. Leaders who ask good questions get more information and insights from their team members which allows them to make better decisions. Encourage your team to be creative and brainstorm solutions when you are looking for fresh ideas and new solutions.

Resolution #6: Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully aware and present in the current moment, which can be helpful when making decisions or dealing with stressors. Leaders who are mindful tend to make better decisions because they don’t let their emotions cloud their judgment.

Being mindful is especially helpful for those in stressful positions like managers and supervisors, as it can help them deal with problems more effectively. An example of being mindful is to take a few deep breaths before responding to an irate customer or team member. Being aware of what is happening around you and trying to maintain an objective perspective will help you deal with the challenging situations that you face.

Resolution #7: Take time for yourself

Leaders often put their work before their own needs, but it’s important to take some time for yourself every day to do something you enjoy. This can be something as simple as taking a walk, reading your favorite book, or listening to music.

It’s also important to have some time each week where you don’t do anything work-related. This can be a time when you relax and recharge so that you can come back to work with fresh energy. Make sure that you schedule this time in your calendar and stick to it.

Resolution #8: Clean your desk!

Cluttered workspaces can be stressful, so take some time this year to get your workspace in order. This means organizing your desk, getting rid of unnecessary papers and deleting old files.

Having a clean workspace can help you focus on your work and increase your productivity. It’s also important to have a designated space for relaxing and taking breaks so that you can mentally reset after working for a while.

Resolution #9: Connect with others more often

Use family dinners or team-building exercises to provide dedicated time to get to know your people and truly connect. Connection is an important part of leadership because it strengthens relationships and allows for better communication.

Leaders often struggle with listening because they’re trying to come up with responses even as people are talking. This makes it impossible for them to fully listen and understand what the other person is saying. Leaders should avoid this by simply waiting until someone has completely finished speaking before responding or asking questions. Listening is a key component of building relationships and connecting with others, so make sure you really tune in to what is being said.

Resolution #10: Give back to your community

Leaders should aim to give back to their communities in some way, whether it’s through volunteering or donating time or money.

When leaders give back to their communities, it shows that they care about their neighbors and want to make a difference. It also helps build relationships with others in the community. Helping others also gives us the internal reward of feeling good about ourselves, which is a great way to start the new year.

Resolution #11: Continue to develop your skills

Leaders should never stop learning and developing their skills. There are always new things to learn, so this is the year to focus on professional development. Take an online course or read a new leadership book.

Leaders should always be learning, whether it’s from their team members or other leaders in their field. Leaders who are constantly learning are more effective because they have new information to draw upon when making decisions. They’re also more likely to be open-minded.

Resolution #12: Be more transparent

Leaders who are more open and honest with their teams, employees or direct reports create a better work environment for everyone involved. Transparency helps build trust between employer and employee through openness, honesty, reliability and consistency. Leaders should be clear about the goals they want to achieve as well as the steps that need to be taken in order to get there. Transparency also helps create a more engaged and motivated workforce.

Resolution #13: Set goals and monitor progress on a weekly basis

One of the most important things leaders can do is set goals for themselves and their team members. This helps keep everyone on track and focused.

It’s also important to monitor progress toward those goals on a weekly basis. This will help identify any issues or problems that need to be addressed. Leaders who do this are more likely to achieve their goals.

Resolution #14: Get a mentor or coach

Mentors are great sources of knowledge and can help you develop your skills. Coaches can provide guidance and support as you work to achieve your goals.

Every manager needs someone to turn to when they’re feeling stuck or unsure about a decision. Having a mentor who can provide advice and guidance is crucial for managers in their career development. The same goes for leaders, who may also benefit from having a coach.

Resolution #15: Delegate tasks whenever possible

One of the best ways to reduce stress is to delegate tasks to others. Leaders often feel like they need to do everything themselves, but this isn’t feasible or healthy. When you delegate tasks, you are able to share the workload and improve the work environment for yourself and your employees.

Delegating tasks also allows employees to learn new skills and grow their knowledge. It also shows that you trust them and believe in their abilities.

Resolution #16: Acknowledge everyone when they do a good job

It’s important to acknowledge people who do a good job, especially when you’re working long hours or under tight deadlines. This helps motivate them and creates positive feelings in the workplace. Everyone likes to be recognized for their efforts, so make sure you take the time to say thank you.

When leaders acknowledge the hard work and dedication of their employees, it makes them feel appreciated. It also shows that the leader is paying attention and cares about their team.

Resolution #17: Stay positive and upbeat

This one is pretty self-explanatory. No one wants to work for a negative leader who is always complaining and has a negative attitude. Leaders who are positive and upbeat create a more positive work environment and are more enjoyable to be around. This makes it easier for people to work together.

Leaders who stay positive are more effective because they’re able to see the good in every situation and motivate their team members accordingly. It’s important to remember that things will go wrong, but it’s how you deal with those setbacks that counts. So stay positive, stay focused and stay the course.

Resolution #18: Take care of yourself

Leaders often put their work before their own needs, but this is a mistake. Leaders who are not taking care of themselves are less effective and more stressed out.

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. Leaders who take care of themselves are more effective because they have the energy and clarity needed to make good, informed decisions.

Resolution #19: Embrace diversity in your team members

Diversity is important for teams because it brings together a wide range of experiences and perspectives that can be beneficial when solving problems or making decisions. Embracing diversity includes diversity of thought, background, life experiences, ethnicity, and gender among many others.

A team full of people that are all alike will lack perspective and creativity when it comes time to solve problems and create solutions. As a leader, it’s important to embrace diversity in your team members.

Resolution #20: Remember that work-life balance is important

Work-life balance is essential for anyone who wants to be successful and happy both at home and at work. Leaders should make sure their employees are prioritizing family time as well as other activities outside of the workplace.

Remember that work is important, but so are family and personal time. Make sure your employees have a healthy balance between their professional life and their personal lives to avoid burnout.

The New Year is a time for reflection and setting new goals. Leaders play an important role in the workplace by setting an example for others and helping to maintain a positive work environment. By focusing on personal and professional development goals, leaders can help their teams stay positive and productive throughout the year.

Remember to focus on your own well-being as well as that of your team members. Be empathetic, take advantage of new opportunities, get more exercise, and embrace creativity in problem-solving. These resolutions will help you lead your team successfully through the next year.

The new year is a time for resolutions and fresh starts. Empathy will be the key factor in successful leadership this year as we continue to face stressors from recent world events. Be sure to focus on your personal resolutions as well as company-wide resolutions in order to create a more positive, supportive work environment for all. Happy New Year!

Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

About the Author

Dr. Sara Baker is an advocate for positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees and leaders face every day.

Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment or who is ready to quietly quit. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

Sara enjoys spending time with her family and friends on her farm in Texas.

Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

About the Author

Dr. Sara Baker is a thought leader in the area of positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees face every day.

Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment or who is ready to quietly quit. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

Sara enjoys spending time with her family and friends on her farm in Texas.

Toxic Workplace Survival Guide

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