(CSN) As we move into 2018, it is time to take action in our lives. Leaders take action, plain and simple. The one thing that separates everyday leaders from wannabe leaders is action. At the end of the day, only action produces results. Building relationships, developing others, investing in your family and making decisions lead to more effective actions; but it is the actions of you and/or your team, along with the outcomes they produce, that will build your reputation as an effective everyday leader.
Here are 7 practical steps to help you take action in your life as you kick-start 2018:
1. Deal with the conflict. Even high potentials must perform as a team to be successful. Conflict is a normal part of every relationship. Don’t ignore conflicts in your life. Deal with them or they will cause you to live your life in reactivity, creating more stress in your work and personal relationships. Fix the conflict issues first, and other challenges will be easier.
2. Start conducting drive-by conversations. The time you spend in up-front conversations will be less than the time you otherwise would spend correcting the unintended and costly consequences of poorly planned and misaligned actions. Make it an action every day to engage others with a 2-3 minute brief conversation that either personally connects, addresses an agreed upon commitment or confirms a plan.
3. Get clear on your future. Not knowing where you are going (True North) is one of the fastest ways to live in confusion. Confusion, caused by a lack of clarity, is one of the highest stressors in a person’s life. Identify a clear picture of where you or your team want be in the next 6 – 12 months.
4. Create a people strategy. Invest as much in creating the people strategy for your next major change as in developing new processes and systems. People will accept change when they feel it is necessary, when their inputs are heard, and when they believe that the process of change is fair.
5. Stop. Ask. Listen. Take some time in the classroom of silence to ask some important questions. Am I where I want to be right now? What do I need to stop doing? What do I need to start doing that will add value to my life? What is working for me? What is not working for me? Spend more time examining your recent successes and failures to determine how you can repeat the wins and eliminate the losses.
6. Stretch the comfort zone. Think about your biggest achievement last year. What have you learned since then that could have made it bigger? Push yourself or your people into the uncomfortable learning zone and coach them to higher levels of success. Don’t settle for status quo. If you are not stretching, you are not growing and if you are not growing than you are regressing.
7. Get Agreement. Next time you finish a key meeting or an important conversation, ask the person what he or she plans to do – both in the task commitment and in supporting each other. Agreement is real only if all parties share the agreements, the actions to be taken, and the expected results. This way you are setting a culture of accountability and follow through.
Take action. Whether that is stopping and reflecting or having a difficult conversation that is long overdue, taking action is the only thing that is going to move you closer to your desired goal or result.