Did your New Year’s resolutions include being a better leader? Perhaps not exactly, but if you’re like the many people who want to “get more organized” — it’s the No. 2 resolution, according to research by University of Scranton — then there are opportunities to up your leadership game. But it won’t happen automatically: a mere 8% of people say they fully adopt their New Year’s resolutions, so leaders need a system to stay the course.

If you’re one of the 92% already feeling the tug of inertia overcoming your resolution, take heart: you can get back on track. There are many reasons that resolutions fall by the wayside, and one of the biggest barriers is “no time.” To help overcome the fade of resolve, I use a planning technique called “60 x 6” to inject a quick shot of energy back into a newly set goal.

Here’s how it works: 60 x 6 uses 60 minutes of laser-like focus to lay the foundation for your goal, which then continually moves you forward throughout the coming six months. (read more…)

If you Google “gift ideas for your boss,” you will find pages of results, mostly from companies that sell gifts.

However, if you search “should I get a holiday gift for my boss,” the consensus answers seems to be “absolutely not!”

At least according to Miss Manners (Judith Martin), Emily Post, Ask a Manager (Alison Green), and the Evil HR Lady herself (Suzanne Lucas), all very credible workplace etiquette experts. They say it’s either blatant sucking up, or could at least give the appearance of sucking up. Holiday office gifts should be given “down” but not “up.”

On the other end of the boss gift giving continuum, you find holiday gifts that will impress your boss. While I think the idea of giving a holiday gift to impress your boss is pretty slimy, I have to give the author credit for being transparent.

Where do I stand on the issue of holiday gift giving for the boss? (read more…)

There’s a reason why Nike adopted the slogan “Just do it.” Actually, the expression may have originated with Amelia Earhart, who said, “The most effective way to do it is to do it.”

The habit of procrastination deserves special attention because it is so widespread and so costly. In addition to robbing you of time, procrastination can cause you to question your own value and abilities. It’s a dangerous practice that feeds on itself and becomes stronger and more damaging with continued use.

You can stop procrastination in its tracks with this success formula:

Motivation + energy + action = results

Motivation generates energy. Energy cultivates action. And action over time will always produce results. Any action you take will generate energy and take you from a place of stagnation into movement.

The first step is to learn what motivates you. For many people, it’s the promise of a reward. (read more…)

“Leadership is always dependent on the context, but the context is established by the relationships we value.” ~ Margaret Wheatley

Many people think that they were promoted to leadership positions because they are smarter, better equipped and/or more capable than their peers. They assume that others look to them for guidance and eagerly await their every direction. While that may be true to a degree, leaders need to know that they won’t last very long unless they get to know and respect their people.

The process of connecting with your professional team begins with becoming acquainted with them as individuals. Try to learn and understand their strengths and their goals, professional as well as personal. What are they passionate about? What are their concerns? People appreciate when you take an honest interest in then and demonstrate care. They also love it when you can identify specific qualities and behaviors that make them special. (read more…)

So, the promotion finally came through. You’ve joined the management ranks. You’re excited, apprehensive, and itching to get started, all at the same time. Succeeding at getting that promotion is just the first step. Succeeding at being a good boss is another thing altogether.

You don’t just want to be a boss — you want to be a great boss. But if you stumble out of the starting gate you may never have that chance. Here are four major pitfalls most new bosses face and how you can avoid them.

Pitfall No. 1: You don’t know your boss’ expectations.

How to avoid it: Set up a meeting, and do it sooner rather than later. Even a week of being headed in the wrong direction can do some serious damage to your image. Remember, one of your first tasks is to make your boss’s job easier. The first question I often recommend is, “If we sit down together three months from now, how will you know that I’m being successful?” The answers to this question can make sure you and your boss are on the same page from Day One. (read more…)