It’s a new year—and that means most everyone online is talking about new habits and promises of becoming “your best self” with New Year’s resolutions. It’s overwhelming to say the least. And although we are going to talk about some new practices as it relates to leadership, we encourage you to enter this year with positivity, reflection, and gratitude above all else.
With that being said, we are passionate about leadership and are excited to share four new habits to begin (or do more of) to become a better leader this year.
Not only are there amazing fictional leaders that we can learn from as we dive more into the literary world, but there are also great leaders who share their wisdom with us in the form of books.
Whether it be a fictional novel or a good self-improvement book, Harvard Business Review says that “evidence suggests reading can improve intelligence and lead to innovation and insight.” Learn more about this in their article, “Those Who Want to Lead, Read.”
Start simple. Pick up your favorite classic novel to get back into the reading groove. Or go with one of our favorite leadership coaches of all time, John Maxwell—check out his list of New York Time’s Best Sellers, here.
Is “acting kindly” actually a habit? We think so.
There are two different kinds of kindness—there’s “being kind” and there’s “intentional kindness.” Intentional acts of kindness are something that can become a new habit.
As we carry on with the hustle and bustle of business, we are prone to forget that small and simple acts of kindness matter. Going out of our way to make the people in our lives feel special goes a long way.
So, let’s schedule it in. There’s no shame in reminding yourself to go out of your way to make an impact. Do you need some small acts of kindness ideas? There are awesome tips in this blog, “Why Acts of Kindness are a Leadership Strength.”
Being creative is an important quality in a leader because it cultivates a “think outside of the box” attitude. And, when we embrace creativity, we also encourage it. A team full of creative minds, working together, all while being encouraged to share their ideas—is unstoppable.
So, let’s make getting creative a new habit by … getting creative! The more we stretch our minds, the more we build that innovative muscle. Here are ways to practice:
- Read more (see tip #1 above).
- Do daily brain teaser puzzles.
- Write poems, short stories, or blogs.
- Take up photography.
- Collaborate with other dreamers and form a think tank or mastermind group.
- Start scrapbooking.
Want even more? This article on “14 Ways to Be More Creative Every Day” will give you great ideas.
Gratitude isn’t just for leaders, of course, but it’s definitely a practice that will turn a good leader into a great one. This is, in part, due to both the emotional and the physical benefits of practicing gratitude. But even more than that are the social benefits.
Robert E. Simmons, a professor of psychology at University of California, Davis, studied over one thousand people who practiced gratitude. In his article on “Why Gratitude is Good,” he says, “the social benefits are especially significant here because, after all, gratitude is a social emotion. I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”
WOW. Being in tune with how those around us positively impact us—and being grateful for that—is surely the mark of a good leader.
New habits, better you.
If we’re being honest, these new habits will not only make you a better leader, but they’ll also make you a better person. But like with anything new, take it one step at a time. Don’t try to tackle all your New Year’s resolutions at once. Implement one or two new habits at a time, and always remember to give yourself grace.
Looking to be inspired by some iconic leaders? Check out our post on “Historical Figures Who Led by Example.”