The most effective leaders are able to engage and inspire their team, focus their attention on the business priorities that make a difference, all while creating a climate of fun and effortless productivity.
But these leaders are rare. Even with good intentions, bad leadership habits are easy to fall into over time. A busy week can disrupt our routine or we start to fall into a pattern of reacting to circumstance rather than acting strategically. Before we know it, without direct attention to the issue, we end up lowering our expectations or following others’ bad examples.
Find your areas of opportunity with this weekly leadership checklist:
- Exude Positivity: no matter the situation, look at the glass as half full. When you are able to convey optimism and hope, your team will feel encouraged and excited. What have you approached with a glass half-empty viewpoint lately?
- Appreciate and Acknowledge: simply, sincerely, and often. When you give recognition, you show that you don’t take actions for granted. This builds trust, loyalty, and a continued collaborative partnership. Who deserves a note of gratitude this week?
- Demonstrate Accountability: set performance expectations and hold people to them (yourself included). This is #1 for integrity, respect, and ultimately, success. Do what you say you will do; as a leader, expect the same from those you lead. What have you let slide recently?
- See the Potential: lift and guide employees toward their full potential. When you look out for their top needs and priorities (not yours), their status increases, which unlocks the creativity and capability within. Who needs a new challenge or opportunity?
- Ask, Don’t Tell: you don’t have all the answers (and even if you did, you’d want to show some humility). Trust your team enough to encourage autonomy, empower them to think freely, and open the door to innovation. When was the last time you asked someone for their perspective on your top problem or dilemma?
- Simplify: communicate with clarity. Don’t make more than three points at once. When the message is clear, the action becomes easier. What has too much complexity but should be simple?
- Embrace Your Brand: build your leadership identity and be consistent. It is generally good to be predictable and reliable; it brings structure, order, and a level of calm. Who are you; what have you done this week that reinforces that? What have you done that contradicts it?
- Stay Current: expand your knowledge, depth, and versatility. Read industry and management articles, share your reactions with others around you, and apply insights where possible. What professional articles have you read and shared lately?
Next step: apply what you’ve learned. Go through this checklist each week to manage the impressions you convey and to highlight areas where you need to refocus to take care of your people.