New Year...New You!

This happens every January—we’re bombarded by ads for fitness centers, weight loss programs, diet programs, and cute outfits to exercise in. The message comes through loud and clear that this is the right time to change how we look. Some of the messages we hear also focus on the inside, too but I think we miss a good bet as managers if we don’t take this opportunity to evaluate our leadership skills and, if necessary, tune those up while also getting more exercise and eating better—at least, for a couple of weeks in January!

So, have you taken stock of your leadership skills lately? Maybe your organization does an employee engagement survey and you’ve received feedback that you could do things differently. Or, maybe you’re a really strong person who asks his/her employees for feedback on how you’re doing when you do their evaluation. Let me just say that if you aren’t asking for feedback, you’re missing a great opportunity to hear directly from your staff. You’ll probably get some compliments but maybe you’ll hear something that will allow you to up your game as a leader! That’s a gift and be grateful for it!

No matter what you’re doing right, most of us could be more appreciative of the work our people do for our organization. As you go about your work in the next few weeks, be aware of opportunities to say a simple “thank you” to your employees. Most of us get so caught up in our day to day activities that we forget how much our employees crave our thanks. Find ways to let your staff know you recognize their good work and just say thanks. Of course, if you have other ways of acknowledging great performance, use those too but research shows that saying thanks can go a long way toward maximizing productivity.

This may sound simple but do you call your employees by name? It is extremely important to use people’s names as often as possible so if this isn’t your pattern, maybe this would be a goal for 2017. So many people say they aren’t good with names but there are many ways to improve your skill in this area so give it a try-it will make a difference with your staff.

Make a conscious effort to evaluate your work environment. Is it as good as it could be? I’m not suggesting you spend tons of your organization’s money to redesign your work space, but make sure what you have is conducive to people doing good work. Does your work environment encourage collaboration? Is there a place for people to have a confidential conversation? Are the rest rooms clean and well equipped? You may have a nice office but what about your staff? Do they have what they need to get the job done?

 As we begin 2017, take some time to look inward at how you lead and how you manage your team. Even a small change in how you interact with your staff can have tremendous payoff this year and beyond but don’t forget to also take care of yourself physically and mentally so that you can be at the top of your game

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