in the workplace
Seven Steps Toward Better
Leadership in 2022.
When that calendar page flips to a bright, shiny new year it’s easy to think of resolutions—wishes that we’d like to have fulfilled. Why not go deeper and make this the year for lasting transformations in the skills you depend on to lead your team or organization? What follows are seven steps to improve your leadership in the coming year.
Consider your mindset.
Start with an honest assessment of your personal strengths and those of your organization. What patterns of thinking need to be replaced? Joanna Barsh and Johanne Lavoie, in their article Lead at Your Best, review methods you can use to learn more about your mindset as a leader and find the specific mindsets that limit your leadership. New behaviors won’t take root and last if we don’t change the old underlying mindsets that hold us back.
Live out your organizational values every day.
Talking about values is easy, living them out day by day takes effort. The result is an organizational culture with integrity. The workscape is changing and being reinvented to reflect the organizational culture; people craving deeper connections and driving change. Take time to listen, inspire, and connect; as noted in the SHRM blog, make the effort to invest in people—from skills development to health and wellness.
Focus on strengths.
Change the area where you concentrate your efforts; stop focusing on your weakness and concentrate instead on your unique and specific strengths. That’s the advice from design engineer and Olympic speed skater John Coyle. In his recent article, Design for Your Strengths, Coyle talks about the significance of making this shift. It starts with a clear-eyed, detailed look at yourself. Equipped with this knowledge, the key step in moving forward is to identify the right problem to solve, then push forward in a way that works with the strengths you identified. It’s not enough to target problems to solve—they must be the right ones; the ones that unlock progress in a way that allows you to move ahead from a position of strength.
A firm commit to learning and growth is the first step on the path to cultivating resilience in the face of events that are outside our control. Brent Gleeson, in Embracing the Suck, digs into the methods of developing resilience and builds on Carol S. Dweck’s research into fixed and growth mindsets. Build learning into your daily life, feeding your curiosity by stretching for new experiences and looking outside yourself; these actions help make the shift into a growth mindset that can form the foundation for resilience. A mindset of growth enables the inevitable setbacks in life to be transformed into opportunities for inspiration; the potential for a fresh start rather than a reason to quit.
Value human qualities.
The distribution of work between humans and machines is affecting jobs and desirable skills across virtually all industries. As a result, in-demand skills are those that are distinctly human-centered and not replaceable by artificial intelligence. Focus on the development of analytical thinking and complex problem solving; bolster creativity, innovation and emotional intelligence in yourself and across your organization.
Agility is a necessity.
We all know that one constant in life is change. Keeping up with changes and trends in the world and in the workplace requires ongoing effort. The World Economic Forum Report on Jobs 2020 identifies several trends that are shaping the world of work. Agility, the ability to respond to changes with flexibility and grace, is not just a temporary buzzword, but an expected practice. The definition of “workplace” has expanded. We have to be prepared for flexibility in working arrangements and hybrids of remote and in-person work; training and skills development are in high demand everywhere to meet the needs of changing job roles resulting from increases in technology and automation.
Reinforce new behaviors with discipline.
Make a commitment to disciplined practice to support ongoing learning. A mindset focused on growth involves a deep commitment to intentional learning; Lisa Christensen, Jake Gittleson, and Matt Smith illustrate the basic steps to be mastered. Make learning stick by setting small, clear goals that are securely anchored and explicit regarding what you intend to accomplish. Don’t go it alone—search out honest and meaningful feedback, then act on it. Dedicate the time necessary to deliberately practice—with the right amount of challenge to build your expertise; and finally, reflect on the entire exercise. Living, and leading, with intentionality is the goal, offering rewards that stretch far beyond a single calendar year.
Individually, we can make progress toward transformations in ourselves and our organizations; however, sometimes the process benefits from the support and guidance of a professional outside observer or business consultant. Turn to RoundTable Consulting for insights, facilitation and coaching as you deepen your leadership skills and recharge your organization.
Nancy Owsianowski is the Founder of RoundTable Consulting where her relational, insightful approach transforms teams, leaders, and organizations. Find Nancy on LinkedIn or reach out to her to learn more about authentic leadership and her coaching, facilitation, and training services.