If you follow the Chinese calendar you know that 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. The dragon symbolizes strength, power, and good luck. Let’s face it, we could all use a little good luck right about now. But instead of waiting for the dragon to come roaring in on the 23rd of January, take a moment to make some positive changes in 2012. Start with:
- Finding something positive about the company you work for. With all the bad news from financial sectors, AT&T's merger with T-mobile and the Netflix fee fiasco, it’s sometimes hard to focus on what you’re company is doing right. But as the song says, if you can’t be “with the one you love, love the one you’re with”. Every month, make it a point of writing down one great thing your company has done, even if it’s something that may not effect you personally, like instituting adoption leave or flex time. As a manager and leader, people look to you for your opinions. If you don’t like your employer, no one else will either.
- Making the hard decisions. Stop putting off the inevitable. If you have someone working for you that you know is not cutting it, do both of yourselves a favor and let him or her go. Yes, it may take some time and counseling, but resolve to start now. Managing people is your job. What could be more important than building and coaching the right team?
- Creating a culture of meritocracy. Endeavor to make this the year that you put aside all your personal biases and focus on results. Create a results only work environment where within reason, people are allowed to work when they are most productive, not when the clock strikes 9am. If you have shift workers with the same skill set, let them decide how to schedule their time. Make sure you communicate early on what achieving results will mean to both the individual and the team.
- Providing feedback loops. Give feedback in real time. Not during the six month or annual review, but when the particular behavior has occurred. Don’t forget that positive feedback should always come first. If a behavior change has occurred, don’t forget to acknowledge it.
- Checking in with your team. Don’t wait for people to come to you with nothing but problems. Make 2012 the year you set up regular one-on-ones with your team. These can be by phone, skype or in person, but make them a set time every month or every quarter and stick to it. Develop some key questions to determine the level of satisfaction and/or frustration your folks are experiencing. Listen, respond and take action. If someone is concerned about a situation, you can’t ignore it. If you can’t change it, help them find ways to work through it.
These are just a few steps to making 2012 as strong, powerful and lucky as possible. And unlike your resolutions to lose weight or start exercising, these resolutions effect everyone that works for you so stick with it!