Your New Year’s Resolution: Invest in Leadership Development

Dec. 15th, 2017

With the holiday season in frenetic full swing, many people are thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. We all want to be healthier, wealthier, and happier, right? And a new year is a perfect time to begin building new habits. Whether you’re a new manager, or an experienced one with the goal of moving into the C-Suite in 2018, a leadership development workshop can help you gain the insights and skills that lead to lasting success.

Leadership Development Resolutions

1. Gain insight into your own behavior.

Understanding your own behavior — how you communicate with direct reports and peers, how you respond to stress, how you work most productively — is paramount for any successful leader. But few of us naturally have the self-reflection to see ourselves as others we see us. We judge ourselves by our intentions, not by our actions and outcomes.  And it can also be difficult to gain unbiased, objective feedback from our coworkers; they may not want to rock the boat, be too busy to give a thorough answer, or could even fear retribution.

Participating in a leadership development workshop can allow you the luxury of time and space away from the office to reflect deeply on your behavior in the workplace. You get important, unbiased insight into your behavior, and you also get valuable practice giving feedback to others.

2. Learn how to effectively work with other types of behavior.

Let’s say you manage a team of several direct reports. One of them may be a hothead who acts impulsively and doesn’t listen to others. Another never speaks up in meetings and is unwilling to try any new process. Still another wants to be everyone’s best friend, talking too much about non-work matters and dodging uncomfortable conversations. How can you manage these different employees and boost their work output?

Human behavior isn’t one size fits all — and your reactions to others can’t be, either. A leadership development workshop can help you develop strategies for how to collaborate and communicate uniquely with each direct report in a way that maximizes their receptivity — not to mention their productivity.

3. Manage conflict effectively.

If conflict arises on your team, do you go into fight mode, or flight mode? When client deadlines become overwhelming, how do you juggle the demand? Some of us argue and yell, some of us withdraw, some of us try to diffuse the tension. Whatever the case, most of us are more concerned (inadvertently or not) with responding emotionally to the stressor, instead of responding productively.

The focused feedback you’ll get in a leadership workshop can help you recognize how you face stress. And when you have the tools in place for managing your emotional reactions to conflict, you’ll spend less time wondering how to respond, and more time actually solving the problem at hand.

4. Pay attention to your non-verbal communication.

You may think that your words are enough to get your message across. But while your words may be clear, your message could be muddled by the tone of your voice, the look on your face, and even your posture. An influential study by Dr. Albert Mehrabian found that only 7% of personal communication effectiveness is based on the words you speak. 38% is based on your tone of voice. And an incredible 55% is based on your body language. So no matter your message at work, it’s probably being tempered by the other person’s reaction to your tone of voice and body language.

Look for a leadership development course that allows you to practice real-world scenarios with others, and captures those role-play practices on video. You’ll be able to see how others perceive your facial expressions, gestures, and tone by seeing their non-verbal response to your non-verbal behavior.

5. Be the kind of leader you want to follow.

When you think about your favorite supervisor ever, you’re probably imagining a boss who values collaboration. Communication was a two-way street; conversations were open-minded and included lots of voices. You were challenged to take risks and push yourself.

Good leaders don’t spend much time micromanaging their team. Instead, they want to influence others and solve business issues through their interpersonal skills.

We call this combination of a high regard for others with a strong emphasis on getting things done Q4 behavior. Q4 leaders respect each direct report’s unique personal needs, goals, and skills. Q4 is receptive to the ideas of other people on the team; provides honest feedback; and helps people understand “what’s in in for me.”

When you combine a strong drive for accomplishment with a high regard for people, you can generate long-term business success — for yourself and the people around you. The right leadership workshop can help you find a way to balance respect for others with bottom-line results.