But we often put off doing the things that will help us make a bigger impact and get better results for ourselves and the organization. Where we focus our time has a significant impact on our success in leadership.
Here are the top five things I think leaders should start doing this year to work at peak performance and get better results.
- Reading- The best leaders are focused on continuous learning and development. Many leaders are so busy they rarely can find time for keeping up on industry trends or enhancing their leadership. Make this the year you focus more time on reading, listening to educational audios, and focusing on development. Some of my favorite resources are:
- Success Magazine (you get a bonus CD with each monthly magazine): www.success.com
- Leadership from the Inside Out by Kevin Cashman
- The Compound Effect audio series or book by Darren Hardy
- The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni
- Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
- Leading for Growth by Ray Davis
- Planning- every minute of planning saves you 10 minutes in execution. Set aside an hour each Monday to plan for the next two weeks. Block out two days each month for planning and executing strategic projects. Last year, I started blocking out four days in a row each quarter to completely focus on only strategic projects. I did everything possible to keep those days open so I could focus on getting some serious strategic work done. When you plan ahead, you will find the time to elevate your focus to strategic areas that give you the best results. Check out the book Strategic Acceleration by Tony Jeary.
- Recognizing- develop the habit of thanking your employees for a job well done. Meet with each employee to ask how they like to be recognized. Send a hand written note or a small gift when an employee goes above and beyond. It doesn’t take much time to recognize and appreciate your employees. Small interactions and gestures can generate better working relationships and a positive environment. A great resource for creating a recognition culture is The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White.
- Coaching-make this the year you will make coaching and developing your staff a priority. Provide feedback early and often. Set up regular coaching sessions with your employees. Ask more questions. Talk less and listen more. Coach your employees to take more responsibility and ownership in their jobs. Check out my article, Ten Tips for Successfully Coaching Employees for ideas on how to implement coaching.
- Reducing disruptions- Despite what most leaders think, having an “open door policy” is not productive. Let your staff know that you are going to close your door more often to concentrate on high value projects. Turn off your phone and your email when you need to focus and get things done. Take control of your time and politely let someone know when it’s not a good time to talk. It’s the small distractions throughout the day that compound and consume time that can be used for focused, productive work. Check out the book The One Thing by Gary Keller for some great tips on how to achieve better results in less time.
What is one thing you would like to start doing this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.