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Better Leadership in 2017

I have been thinking about the year ahead and wanted to come up with simple, easy-to-remember guidelines for deepening my own leadership skills in 2017.

2015, for me, was all about BALANCE both personal and professional.  Balance turned out to be more of a challenge than I originally estimated and it spilled over into 2016 under a new banner of SIMPLIFY.  I continue practicing balance and simplification and know for me it is a life-long initiative.  I think the word PRACTICE is appropriate for these types of pursuits.

After overcomplicating the 2017 guidelines exercise, I came back to 4 basic verbs.  I chose verbs for the very fact that they are action-oriented.

  1. Listen
  2. Ask
  3. Act
  4. Know me

Getting to these four areas of focus started out pretty cloudy.  Still, I knew there was something important about all four skills.  Any one of these capabilities are great characteristics.  I will argue good leadership requires all four.  Take away any one and the problems start.  Not listening to other stakeholders, not asking the right questions, failing to act when required, and looking at the situation through my own narrow filters can put me at a significant disadvantage and result in poor leadership.

It seems obvious that I turn the clouds into firm skill sets represented by intersecting circles to try to visualize and explain what was happening in each of the overlapping areas.  

Great leadership requires a combination of listening, asking questions, acting and knowing my own stuff.

I thought about writing a paragraph on each overlapping section including what types of leadership behavior is exhibited when leaders don’t listen or are not self-aware of their own prejudices, preconceived ideas, and assumptions etc.  Instead I will simplify the post and leave that examination up to the reader.

With these simple guidelines in place, I look forward to the challenges that 2017 will bring.

Happy New Year!

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