New Year's Resolutions: Four Steps To Becoming A Better Leader

The new year is upon us, and one of the time-honored traditions for many is the making of resolutions for the upcoming year. From losing weight to spending more time with family, there are many ways for individuals to improve themselves. For business owners of course, the options are endless. In addition to personal resolutions, it doesn’t take most owners that much time to come up with a long list of changes to implement in the future.

One function that virtually every business owner shares is leadership--and for that reason I am going to examine four ways to become a better leader in 2012.

Open the channels of communication. Every business owner knows that communication is important, but how many structure their business in a way that is conducive to organizational communication? Ask yourself this simple question: If an employee is in possession of a fact or an opinion that may be valuable to you or to others in your organization, will he or she feel free to bring it to the attention of the appropriate individual? Or are your employees so paralyzed by protocol or the fear of being wrong that they’ll keep their mouth shut?

Eliminate employee uncertainty. One of the greatest frustrations for many employees in any industry is a lack of clarity in regards to their expectations and responsibilities. Take the time to create a precise job description for every position in your company, and clearly define all tasks and responsibilities. Eliminate uncertainty and watch productivity skyrocket!

Devote time each month to employee development. In order to get the most from your employees, you need to invest time and resources in their development. Annual performance reviews simply aren’t enough. Make a point to sit down with each employee on a quarterly basis (or more frequently, if possible) and provide them with specific feedback and areas of improvement.

Lead by example. If you expect your employees to buy in to your company culture and your way of doing things, you need to practice what you preach. Take a moment to evaluate yourself. Do you offer excellent customer service? Do you communicate openly with employees at all levels of your organization? Do you meet your deadlines and deliver on your word?

If you focus on these four areas in 2012, I can promise you that you’ll become an even more effective leader. Feel free to get in touch with me to learn more on this subject.

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[Image: Flickr user Kicki Holmen]

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