Christmas is over and 2011 is winding to a close. Your plans are in place to celebrate the arrival of 2012. Hopefully you are taking some time to relax this week – but also keeping an eye on your email so that your post holiday return to the office is not full of surprises. Some businesses are closing their fiscal year ends while others are marking quarterly or half-year milestones. As always, you as a leader are focused on the future, and on how to continue delivering solutions, value and results.
The end of the year allows us to step back a bit, to reflect and recalibrate our approach. There seems to never be enough time during the year to do this so we try to jam it all in at year’s end, perhaps fueled by leftover cookies, turkey legs and grandma’s jello mold.
For 2012, I challenge each of you to find the full potential in yourselves, and in those who surround you. To do this, I recommend you work on four traits that are not commonly associated with high-powered leaders.
Humor is a leadership tool that often gets overlooked. Humor can be used to break tensions, draw people into a conversation, liven up a dull topic, and pull teams together. Record label executive Allen Klein wrote, “Humor can alter any situation and help us cope at the very instant we are laughing”. The best leaders I have seen use humor to their advantage – sometimes you just have to laugh a little to move people forward.
Patience is a tough one for many of high-achievers. You did not get where you are by waiting – sometimes you give a push and things happen. The trick is not to just push for a solution, but to push for the right solution. Ben Franklin wrote, “He that can have patience can have what he will.” Sometimes to achieve great things you need time. Maybe the secret to patience is to do something else in the meantime.
Intuition flies in the face of today’s leaders who rely mainly of the use of hard data, business cases, user testing and committees to make business decisions. Intuition is the ability to collect and interpret soft data and use it effectively in determining when and how to act. Clearly some hard data is needed to understand complex issues, but the best leaders often rely on “gut feelings” to help guide them and can quickly determine what inputs are needed to make decisions.
Hope is not a common term associated with business leadership. In the next year we will all suffer through highs and lows; we will experience wins and losses. There will be times when solutions will not be possible. It is during the low times, that you as a leader must step up and give those around you a reason to believe, to push forward, and to continue the quest. Martin Luther King wrote that “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” As a leader, one of your responsibilities is to bring hope to the people of an organization. Are you ready?
I wish you all the best that life has to offer in 2012! You have the power to control your own situation – use this power wisely. There is a lot of good stuff to get done in 2012, so hey, let’s get started.