Happy New Year. We are two days into 2014 and as the Festive Season draws to an end the attention of leaders and managers turns to the year ahead. The various challenges we will have to contend with, what needs to be achieved, and despite gathering the best possible market and industry intelligence, the ‘unknowns’ that will reveal themselves, exciting us and at times daunting us as leaders and managers.
As we approach this new year it is an ideal time to reflect on the quality of our leadership and management during 2013 and to consider where we want to be as leaders and managers at the end of 2014. In this reflective process we find a good starting point is to take time to write a vivid description of the type of leader and manager you want to be one year from now.
As we see it your role as a leader is to shape the future direction of your organisation. Consider what your contribution can be in 2014 in shaping, strategy, culture, structure, systems and most of all what’s valued. When clearly defined and understood these provide people at every level with the certainty and confidence to take action.
For managers the key is productivity; it is ensuring as a manager that you have an individual plan for each person on your team that allows them to turn their particular talent into performance.
In shaping your vivid picture for a year from now there are two vital questions that need answering:
- In 2013 as a leader and a manager what did I do well? Really devote time to capturing these achievements as human nature being what it is we often gravitate to capturing where improvement is required rather considering our strengths and what we do well.
- To become a better leader and manager in 2014 what do I need to focus on?
In considering the question of focus break it into two parts: external and internal focus. External focus is determining what essential factors such as competition, social, economic, technological and political will impact on your ability to craft strategy and innovate to meet changing customer needs.
Internal focus deals with you and how you choose to interact with others. We think internal focus is critical; however it does not receive the attention from leaders it deserves. What you focus on internally determines how well you build the bond between your people and their performance. It starts with knowing your strengths, where you can build on them and one or two areas that need further improvement. Do you need to exert stronger influence, engage and collaborate more, devote more time to coaching and supporting others, make more effective decisions or inspire others so they are more motivated?
Part of your preparation for the year ahead comes down to the extent of your willingness to commit to seriously reflect on what you need to focus on to improve as a leader and a manager. A coach is a of real value in enabling you develop the right internal and external focus by helping you think objectively about your leadership in 2013. Further, by challenging your thinking and behaviour and acting as a sounding board they will ensure you develop a personal action plan that is achievable for 2014.
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