What’s new for 2016? It is on everyone’s mind. It’s on mine, and I am sure it is on yours. We wonder what this year is going to be like. We think about the potential. For the most part, they are positive thoughts. It really is a unique time of year when many people’s minds are tuned in to the positive. I realise that is a sweeping generalisation, but the reason we have generalisations is that for the most part they are true!

What does 2016 look like for you?

You can set some new year resolution. Many of you would have already done so, and most of you would have already broken them in one way or another. We are 9 days into the new year. How can a goal be broken so quickly.

Is one of your goals or resolutions to be a better leader, a better manager? Now there is a goal that is vague and hard to measure. Mary Poppins (those of you with small children or a those that can recall from their own childhood will get this reference), calls these goals “pie crust promises; easily made, easily broken”.

This is a good rule to live by, “don’t make pie crust promises. Easy to make, and easy to break.” And if you break them, then it is easy to explain them away with more vague words.

So if you do want to become a better leader, how do you set a goal that is a bit more specific.

Lets start with what you think being a better leader actually looks like…perhaps the following list can help you.

A better leader…

  • supports others to learn and grow
  • communicates well with their team
  • focuses on building the capability of their team
  • is intent on uncovering what motivates their team
  • understands their own motivation
  • understands the complexity of their organisation, its values and culture, and how values and culture impact on performance.
  • understands the make up of their team, and how to best leverage skills and abilities, to achieve high performance
  • understands that leadership is focused on others, for the benefit of the team

The list goes on.

But the main focus for any leader should be this. First understand yourself. If you don’t know what you are motivated by, how can you motivate others. And then secondly, be others focused, always.

A good goal to improve leadership then, should be focused on observable behaviour. “This year I am going to meet with each team member at least once a month, and find out something new about that person in each meeting”. Its a small thing, but it will go along way.

What’s your leadership goal for 2016? Is it a real goal, or a “pie crust promise”

Knowledge is empowering, but knowing things about people is useless if it is not put into practice. This is the hard bit. Changing your outward behaviour.

To change behaviour, you will need to first look at your underlying beliefs. This is what needs to change. Over the next few blog posts, we will look at specific elements of leadership, and the underlying beliefs and values that will support that element of leadership.