For Part 2 of our “Start of the Year Planner,” we want to cover the topic of leadership. (Click here for Part 1: Setting Business Goals)
When effective leadership comes to mind, most people think about perfecting the art of time management, mastering the skill of delegation, and so on. True, these topics are important. But they have also been said over and over again. So why not explore some new areas – or at least areas that have not been thoroughly exhausted?
Speaking of “exhausted,” our first tip is to…
1. Get More Sleep
Yes, we said it. Get more sleep! As a person in your career, you want to put your best foot forward every day you step into the office. But you can’t do this if you are sleep deprived. Your list of To Dos might seem endless, and it might feel as if there are not enough hours in the day to get things done, but at the end of the day, we all need sleep. In fact, 95% of people need 7- 8 hours of sleep per night (Harvard Business Review 3/3/11). So this year, make sleep a priority. Give yourself a set time to put down your work and stop for the evening. This will lead to more productive work days, so you will be on top of your game and sharper than ever.
This paves the way for our next point…
2. Learn to Say “No”
Just as much as you need more sleep, as a businessperson, you need to learn how to channel your energy. You can’t do it all! Saying “yes” to opportunities and to challenges has gotten you far into your career. But saying “yes” to some opportunities means you must say ”no” to others. Embrace this change. The ability to be honest with yourself about your time constraints and capabilities will launch you further into your career than you think. By being realistic about what you have time for, you will be able to set clear expectations for both yourself and those working with you – reducing the stress of not being able to get things completed on time and allowing you more time to focus on the more important tasks at hand.
3. Make Time for Your Family
Forbes recently published an article titled "5 Leadership Tips for 2012," and among the advice was a novel idea – “make your family the priority.” Balancing work life with family life is never easy, and all too often, people make the choice to put work before family. They aspire to work hard, so they can provide a good life for their families. But the inability to balance work and family time brings added stress and tension – which ultimately will affect your work productivity and leave you feeling less satisfied.
Sure, the management skills we talked about in the first paragraph will make you a better supervisor, but being an effective leader means you have to also work on your body and ability to balance.
We want to hear from you. Have you successfully tried some of our tips? Tell us about the difference they made in your ability to be an effective leader.