Posted by: Christine Donovan | January 4, 2010

Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Leaders

Happy New Year!  I hope that you had a beautiful Christmas and wish you a wonderful, prosperous 2010.

I’ve been thinking about this blog of mine, especially my seeming inability to post every day (I do have clients and projects to tend to!), and I think that one problem may be that I’m just trying to write too much.  Admittedly, it’s not a big stretch for me to be long-winded, but even ruminations can take time.  So my New Year’s resolution is to blog daily, but keep it to sprints instead of marathons.

I just mailed my monthly newsletter, “Leading in Tough Times,” to my clients, and thought that it would be an excellent topic to share in the blogsphere as well.  (If you would like to receive back issues, please let me know!)

As I was deciding on the topic, I began to think about New Year’s resolutions and what an appropriate time this is to share the top 10 leadership principles I’ve gathered over two decades of managing teams and teaching leaders.  After all, this is the season for renewed commitments and new behaviors, and so I thought you would enjoy reviewing these principles at the threshold of this new year.

Most of these are probably not new to you (if you’ve been a leader for any length of time), but just like weight loss and exercise, we know we should do it, but for what ever reason, don’t.  Yet leaders, of all people, understand that living a purposeful life is about achieving excellence, raising the bar, reaching for the next rung, learning and growing, and applying self-discipline.

So on that note, I’d like to share with you my Top 10 (suggested) Leadership Resolutions for 2010.  (In keeping with my promise to keep posts short, I will do this in a series… one piece at a time).

Enjoy – and please send me your comments, suggestions and any leadership resolutions that I should add to the list!


1.      Create your vision and communicate it regularly.

I’ll take a guess that during your leadership career you’ve probably sat through countless training sessions, read innumerable books, and absorbed relentless advice about the importance of having and communicating a “vision.”  But, if you’re in the majority, this has most likely been a concept that is easier to talk about than put into practice.

During my own management career, I didn’t understand the value of vision ul the lack of it eventually affected my competence as a leader.  And so  for the past several years, I’ve enthusiastically hopped onto the vision bandwagon, and have advised my clients to do the same.

Now you may find yourself so overwhelmed with problem-solving, interruptions and employee performance challenges, that the idea of communicating your vision is right up there with losing 10 lbs and going to the gym — It’s a great idea, you know you should do it, but the reality is that it’s just not going to happen.

Please listen carefully:  Having and communicating a consistent vision is CRUCIAL to keeping your team focused, motivated and productive.  It doesn’t have to take a lot of time; you can include a brief discussion on vision (and goals) at staff meetings;  maybe create a “vision board” in your work area and have folks add their ideas and questions; or get some mugs, baseball caps or mouse pads with the team’s vision printed on it.  The important thing is that you keep your vision alive and meaningful — it creates focus, a feeling of security, and a sense of a higher mission, powerful qualities to have on any team.

Tomorrow – Resolution #2: Spend individual time with your team members.

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