People set themselves New Year’s resolutions focusing on their health and wellbeing which is great, but how many people set themselves professional resolutions?
The downtime between Christmas and New Year offers a space for reflection and contemplation. We think about the year ahead and the changes we want to make for ourselves but as professionals we have the opportunity to radically improve our work life. Resolutions can accelerate our performance and positively impact our teams.
Here are the 3 resolutions I think every manager should adopt this New Year.
Keep it simple, use plain English
This is an area I feel passionately about given my communications background. Let’s get rid of the unnecessary management and professional jargon this year, trust me your staff, colleagues and customers will love you for it. Writing in plain English makes everything you write clear, easy to understand and memorable. The lack of management speak doesn’t show that you are bad at your job or less clever than your colleagues, but if this is the unspoken belief in your organisation then go against the trend and challenge these beliefs.
I was once given a very long organisational strategy to proof-read and tidy up before it was shared. The sheer length of the document made it off-putting to read but it was also incomprehensible due to the non-stop management jargon. Virtually every sentence had to be read two or three times to try and figure out what it was saying. I had to read this document but I know anyone else would have given up and just pretended they had read it.
The worst part for me was the mission statement. It was over 60 words long and it felt like every senior manager had dropped their favourite buzzword in there. I had to keep re-reading and condensing the sentence down to understand it. When I rewrote the mission statement it contained just four words; it was clear, concise and easy for everyone to remember.
Keep everything simple and concise!
Actively listen to people
Do you truly listen to people or is your mind busy thinking about other things?
Active listening is being attentive to what someone is saying, focusing completely on them and taking notice of their body language, facial expression, mood as well as their words. It allows you to understand the meaning of their words and the feeling of what is being said.
75% of the time we are distracted, preoccupied or forgetful when we are having a conversation and research has shown that just an hour later we remember less than 20% of what has been said!
Active listening has many benefits. By listening fully to your staff it shows empathy and engagement which boosts morale and staff engagement. You remember more of the information as well as gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of the issues, all of which increases the efficiency and effectiveness of problem solving.
And your third resolution should be:
Stop seeing overworking as a badge of honour
We glamourize overworking. We believe it shows commitment, dedication and should help get that promotion. Wrong!
91% of Britons are working beyond their contracted hours on a weekly basis and 43% are not taking a break or leaving the office over lunchtime according to Morgan McKinley
It doesn’t matter if these hours are in the office or working from home we need to stop as it is bad in so many ways.
Overworking is bad for your health, it causes exhaustion and stress which leads to a lowered immune system and burnout. The tiredness and stress negatively impacts your concentration, problem solving capabilities, productivity and enthusiasm for your job.
We all need to strive for a much healthier work/life balance.
So this year lead by example. Avoid overworking yourself, speak to your team about the negative impacts of overworking and actively encourage them to stop overworking as well.
All of these resolutions will boost staff morale and engagement making you a better manager. Giving people your undivided attention when they speak and being able to present ideas succinctly are great for building rapport and strengthening working relationships. Reducing or eliminating overworking demonstrates to your team that you care about their health and wellbeing. Everyone should be able to enjoy their time away from work and fully recharge. And a quality rest period helps maintain enthusiasm.
Adopting these 3 New Year’s resolutions will increase your efficiency and effectiveness, helping you stand out from the crowd.