Dan Arens

“As the leaders go, so go the people” is an ancient saying that is still applicable today. Leadership qualities are different for everyone. Consider adjusting yours this year.

Here are some suggestions that can separate leaders from others in most organizations. They might provide some clarity for you during the new year.

Curiosity- It is difficult, if not impossible, for someone in a leadership position to know everything about every topic in their business. However, if leaders can maintain their willingness to learn, either when they are presented with something new or when they have an opportunity to learn something new, they will be well on their way to improving their leadership. Be willing to learn about areas that you have not been exposed to before; albeit historical, scientific, technical, or emotional. Read continually, whether it is from hardcopy books, e-books, audio books, or podcasts. The availability of resources like those mentioned has never been easier. Take advantage of learning about something you have always been curious about.

Flexibility- Leaders need to be flexible and stay flexible. Problems will come from all directions and decisions will still need to be made based upon the information you have at your disposal. As time advances, the same problem can present itself again, but circumstances might have changed, requiring you to make a different decision than the previous one. Be flexible, just because you made an earlier decision based upon a certain set of criteria, that criteria could have changed. You need to have the wisdom, willingness, and flexibility to make a different decision, if one is called for, at the time.

Keep the Main Thing, the Main Thing- Many people are worried about the past and concerned about what the future might bring. Good leaders learn from past mistakes, failures, as well as successes. Be mindful of your present circumstances, those you can control and those you cannot control. Strive for greater focus on what you can control and those things you cannot control. Try and understand the differences between them. For example, there is probably very little you can do to control the advancement or retreat of the COVID pandemic. Stay focused on being positive and growing your company. Try focusing intently on something (breathing, listening to the sounds of the environment, praying for someone, or even feeling the texture of your clothes) for a short period of time, up to twenty seconds. Strive to do it as often as you can during the day and see if it brings clarity to your focus. If nothing else, it might bring a new perspective.

Deal with Negativity- This aspect of self-improvement is probably the biggest problem business owners and leaders face on a day to day basis. If you are a goal oriented individual, there are many negative issues that will confront you in your attempt to accomplish your goal(s). Fear, uncertainty, stress, and delay are just a few examples of what can become obstacles to your success. People are, by nature, more comfortable with maintaining the status quo and more uncomfortable with trying new things. As you try new things or strive to change things, there is a natural resistance. In order to overcome the resistance, you have to push through and overcome your emotions. Remember, there are three kinds of people; those who watch things happen, those who make things happen, and those who don’t know what is happening. Be someone who makes things happen.

You are not alone- Try to remember that you are not the only leader out there. You are not the only one who has confronted problems and issues that need to be resolved on a moment by moment basis. There are many others in the same ‘boat’. While the saying ‘misery loves company’ is probably true, there can be some comfort found in knowing that somewhere out there, someone is facing far greater and much more stressful situations than you. There might be an opportunity that presents itself where you can reach out to someone else and be of comfort or assistance to them. Many times, this approach will not only help someone else, it will help you feel better in the process.

Most leaders are always on the lookout to improve their abilities. As you guide your business through the trials and tribulations, as well as the joys and accomplishments of 2022, keep business growth as one of your main goals.