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Four Things You Need to Do to Lead Well in 2018

With the new year right around the corner, many of us are putting effort toward setting the stage for a great 2018.

  As a leader, you need to be especially aware of the steps they will be taking. Why? Because your responsibility is not just for yourself, but also for those you lead. It’s not enough to wait until January 1 to start planning and preparing. The preparation needs to begin today.

To make the new year the best possible, there are four things you need to do for yourself and for those you lead. Taking time to consider these four areas will put you and others in the best place to make the new year your best ever.

To Get Started Strong, your team needs four things from you as a leader:

  1. Vision. Your team needs to see what you see. They need to know why the direction you’re leading is important to them, to you, and to the organization. They need to see what could be accomplished and how each of them fits into the puzzle of success. Having a crystal clear vision creates alignment, focus, direction, and ultimately, results.

  2. Direction. Vision must be followed with concrete directions. When the plan in laid out clearly and simply, it’s hard not to be part of making it happen. People become inspired with the vision, but they become secure with direction and we all need a security in some form. Often, however, this is where leaders often come up short. They have the vision but they don’t articulate what it takes to get there. As a result, their teams are left wondering where to go and what they need to do. 

  3. Creativity. Your team needs to know their destination, who is driving them at each stage, what deadlines they’re expected to meet, what resources they have and what limitations (if any) you set. How they arrive at the end point is a different conversation and allows their creativity to come. It’s not the responsibility of the leader to dictate every action. But, instead, to communicate clearly their “intent” and then provide the conditions and freedom where the team can be creative to design and deliver the solutions needed to achieve the desired goal. Leaders who are too controlling don’t see the value of creativity. They believe their way is the best way. But in the end, this is constraining to the success of the team and can become an overwhelming burden for the leader to carry.

  4. Empowerment. Leaders who insist on micromanaging will quickly find their overreach slows workflow, squelches creativity and deflates people’s confidence. Nothing demotivates a high-potential team member like micromanaging. And nothing frees potential like empowerment. Give you people the tools they need: materials, training, research, time and money, and let them go. This is tough to do. But I’ve learned the hard way that trying to oversee all the aspects of a new project is too daunting, too complicated, and too frustrating. But, I’ve also learned that you need to be involved to the point where you’re asking great questions and providing guidance to help the team stay on track. You can be too disengaged, resulting in stalled progress and drifting off course

Leadership is a team event, not a one person show. That’s the essence of leadership. It’s been said if you’re leading and have no-one following, you’re just taking a walk. By making these four things: Vision, Direction, Creativity and Empowerment central to your leadership in the new year, you’re bringing your best and bringing out the best in those you lead every day.

Walking Points: On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, rate yourself in each of these four areas on how well you do each. Now, ask 3-4 members of your team to rate you as well. Where are the similarities? Where are the differences? If there was one of these areas you could improve in, what would you want it to be?

Live. Love. Lead. Leave a Legacy!

Dr. Jason

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