As much as many leaders were hoping that this new year would bring an end to an unsettling time, this has not quite happened. The world is definitely in a better place with many more tools to face the pandemic, yet we are still dealing with hybrid work situations as well as continual openings and closings of companies. This is no time for leaders to become complacent. Instead of merely wishing our work worlds were different, leaders have choices. They can continue working the way they have this past year, or they can make some critical changes to their leadership direction. Leaders can choose to up their game to make 2022 a strong year of growth and possibility.
This decision of forward leadership begins with a plan, setting powerful goals as well as embracing a determined attitude. What does that look like? Together we can turn our challenges from the past year into opportunities in the year ahead.
How will you lead forward in 2022?
1. Claim Your Determined Attitude
To lead forward in the coming year leaders need to believe in their abilities and value. When working with leaders I often ask them to compile a list of their accomplishments from the past year. At first some people feel uncomfortable and don’t know how they should respond. However, once they begin the process, their thoughts and writing or typing flow freely. Then we step back and look at the list with amazement as the leader’s eyes are open to all that they have achieved. Those successes empower a leader to see their value and worth. From there, they own their discovery of the new year ahead.
2. Identify Lessons Learned From The Past Year
The next important step in leading forward is recognizing some of the missteps or flops of the past year. No individual can have a perfect record with no misses. Some helpful questions to ask to uncover some areas to reassess are:
- Which projects would I have handled differently if given a second chance?
- What can I now change to create a better outcome for a similar assignment next time?
- Are there skills or experiences I need to add to my leadership toolbox this year? How will I obtain them?
- Which relationships are going well and which ones do I need to work on?
3. Create A Big Picture Plan
I write often about leadership vision and its importance for each of us in order to know where we are headed and why. Think about your career trajectory and specifically where you are right now. First of all, can you describe where you see yourself at the top of your game? Are you where you want to be? Are there other responsibilities you are eager to add to your plate? Having a clear vision of your career, not just the job you are in right now, will help you map out how to lead forward. Keep in mind that your big picture plan will most definitely evolve throughout the years.
4. Clearly Set Impactful Goals
Now comes the real heart of the lead forward process- setting goals. Our goals need to be big hairy ones and everyday ones. We need both long term and short term goals to works towards. Most of all our goals have to be SMART.
- S– Specific: When goals are specific they describe what we need to do in a clear way.
- M-Measurable: Every goal has to include ways to measure success and keep track of our progress.
- A– Achievable: Goals must be attainable for a leader while still including some stretch goals.
- R– Relevant: Goals must align with our personal career trajectory as well as the organization’s vision.
- T– Time-bound: A goal without a timeframe is a mere dream. Make sure to have target dates for each goal.
5. Match Your Leadership Strategy With Your Message
The final piece of leading forward is sharing your new year leadership strategy in a coherent and energized message. It is essential for leaders to communicate their 2022 vision, goals and ways to grow to colleagues and bosses in a clear and determined way. Don’t be afraid to ask for input and always stand up for what you believe and care about.
How will you lead forward in 2022?
Related: The Power of Different Opinions