So…in this article, the headhunters write how to resolve to leave your job for a better one if the following list of expectations isn’t met, right? Wrong.

Our agency’s deepest desire is that you, the candidate, be the best at what you do. When you get better at your profession, you make the world a better place. You drive revenues and profits, and that leads to creating more jobs. You teach, train, and mentor, empowering the next generations to succeed. You serve worthy causes, helping to feed the hungry, clothe the homeless, improve sustainability, and countless other noble missions. And you climb the staircase of career progression toward career success.

As you make your way in this freshly-minted year, consider commitment to improving in the following five areas. Even a 20% sustained increase in these areas will make a huge impact not just in this year, but may change the overall trajectory of your entire career.

There’s a catch, though. They’re intertwined. You can’t pick just one or two because as a leader you must take a 360⁰ approach to create a sustained change. And in all things, the speed of the leader determines the speed of the team.

1. Learn With Significance

Stop reading the Cliffs Notes, or whatever they’re calling them these days. Stop taking shortcuts. Pick a great leadership book in your area of weakness and read it cover-to-cover. If it comes with a study guide, work the study guide. What’s it going to take…a few hours a week? This is the difference between having topical article-skimming knowledge and in-depth knowledge that you can apply.

Then…do it again. Make it a habit to read or reread at least three great leadership books every year.

2. Relate Deeply

We’re all multitasking and further exasperated because we carry little machines that constantly ping. The emails will get answered and you’ll get the reports turned in accurately and on time. This year make it a priority to slow down long enough to get to know everyone on your team.

As a recruiter I have interviewed thousands of talented people at the manager-, director-, VP- and C-level. A common reason for leaving a job is that there was no connection with immediate superiors. Aloof management is the enemy of talent retention.

3. Encourage Consistently

The positive attitude in your workplace starts with you. Bring energy and enthusiasm to your work. Most of all bring your smile! Remind your people of their successes and help them put their failures behind them by not bringing them up.

Most people battle negative self-talk. In the silence of their minds some of the people on your team are calling themselves a loser; telling themselves they can’t be successful. Your consistent encouragement is a powerful force in moving someone to believe that they can achieve greatness, and those are the greatest career legacies you will create.

4. Serve With Excellence

You know what’s bugging you about your department. You may be biting your tongue in meetings, or you may be surprised that other department heads haven’t called you out on something (they’re biting theirs). Put an end to the compromise.

Pick three areas that you know in your heart need to be improved. Think through how they CAN be improved with the team you already have in place. Eliminate CAN’T from your vocabulary and rally your team to achieve a higher level of excellence than they thought was possible.

When framing out your activity, make sure you incorporate the following important leadership principles:

  • Unless already part of your company’s plan, do not implement a “sweeping overhaul.” Pick a few important areas to change.
  • Consider the view of each stakeholder in the strategic plan. When your staff feels your respect for how it will affect them personally you have a much better probability of success

For example, if a restaurant’s objective is to improve kitchen ticket times, there are several key stakeholders: Chef and all culinary managers, expediters, line cooks, prep cooks, servers, runners, bussers, Maître d’s, Managers, and more. Each position has a set of responsibilities and changes that will need to be made to achieve your goal. How will the changes affect their work? What is the ripple effect?

  • Don’t expect immediate improvement. Sustained change, especially when overcoming something significant, takes time.
  • Know how to measure success before you start. You may measure changes publicly by posting metrics or a graph, or privately by revealing statistics at a weekly meeting. You know your staff and what will motivate them – use the best method for your team.
  • Celebrate even the slightest improvement, and especially when benchmark goals are achieved.
  • Reward individuals, and the entire team, for improvements. Little things like a paid night off, movie passes, or a gift card go a really long way.

5. In Everything, Balance

I‘m a workaholic too, but I have contempt for it. This year, balance is one of my top priorities. This is an area of weakness for me, but of every responsibility and task I have I am asking myself:

  • Is the amount of time I work causing me to neglect my wife, my kids, the people most important to me, and my life mission?
  • Am I making time for health and fitness – both physical fitness and mental fitness?
  • Should I be doing this? Can or should this work be shifted to another person to free me up to lead where I am needed? Does that mean reorganizing how the work is done or hiring someone to help?
  • Is 90% of the work I do directly tied to the mission and vision of the company?
  • Am I following through on points 1-4 above?

New Year’s resolutions are famous for their failure rate. Witness the gym for right now and compare it to what you’ll see in a few weeks. The problem there is that people resolved to “get fit” rather than develop a sensible, sustained diet and exercise program and resolve to follow that program.

Focus your “resolution” energy on concrete, measurable steps to improve your performance and leadership. Those are the elements you control, and promotions and advancement follow that preparation.

Set the goals, think through the plan, and apply all five points. If you are faithful week after week, you will succeed. If you hit a wall, call me or shoot us an email. I’ll help you through it!