To help foster a great 2017 start for my company, I'm publicly committing myself to being a better manager next year in 10 different ways. In this last Drift of 2016, here are the final six:
- Be an Example by Planning My Own Days. So much of the American workforce starts its day by plunging right into its email inbox and starting to work south. This begins a cycle of reaction - and non-productivity and frustration - that can last the whole day. Too often I see myself doing the same thing. So in 2017 I'll have a plan - if only an outline - for how I plan to win the day. And I'll share that plan with my team so they'll do the same.
- Put on My Own Oxygen Mask First. It sounds like a clichÃ© from a self-help book, but it works. Many managers - myself included - tend to burn out by failing to look after themselves. Showing your team how much stress you can absorb and how many hours you can work is not a sign of strength. Ironically, the best managers always seem to be the healthiest and most balanced. In 2017, I aim to be one of those
- Bring New Voices Into the Room. Insularity is a problem in our business. Even though we're good at what we do, we run a small company and there are only so many voices we hear in a given business day. Maybe your team is just as small and insular. Or maybe you run a small team within a bigger company. In 2017 I'll be trying to find different voices for my team to hear. Customers, TED speakers and thinkers and doers who have nothing to do with our industry or our business. Because it's often the unrelated or distant connection that helps you break through in your thinking.
- Ask Twice. As managers we should never forget that the first inclination most of our employees will have is to please us, to tell us everything is under control. When we say "Do you understand?" or "Are you all set with this?" the immediate answer is "Got it!" But is it true. In 2017 I'll start asking twice. Because it's in the second - or even third - question that the employee starts to feel your genuine concern and curiosity. "Quickly take me through your plan" and "Let's talk about how I can support you on this" are also good phrases to keep the conversation going.
- Take Time for Inspiration. Given how sophisticated and worldly our digitally-focused, millennially-oriented workforces are, they're not supposed to care about inspiration, right? In a world of ones and zeros, who's got time for slogans and deep thoughts? As someone who speaks directly with digital sellers and other executives in our business virtually every day, I can tell you that inspiration is more vital than ever. Your people - and mine - are seeking meaning in their work and in their lives. There are many inspiring stories, lives and ideas out there. And in 2017, I'll be trying to share more of them with my team. I hope you will too.