Happy New Year!
It’s that time of year: the kids are crashing from a month-long sugar high, the days of the Christmas tree are numbered, and everyone is deciding on their New Year’s resolutions. New Year’s resolutions have become a great way to start fresh and commit to improving yourself. In the midst of deciding, it is easy to overlook your professional career.
This year, make a New Year’s resolution to become an effective leader. If you hope to flourish in your professional and personal life, leadership is an invaluable skill. Confident leaders are essential for organizations, businesses, and governments to succeed. To reach your leadership goals, you need personalized, concrete actions to follow. We all know that resolutions are notoriously tough to keep when our goals are too vague.
What does effective leadership look like? There are 5 key tips to growing as a leader: excellent communication skills, appropriate education, self-awareness, the ability to network, and a professional online presence. Let’s break down those tips, so you can make your New Year’s resolution attainable!
TIP 1: COMMUNICATION SKILLS
- Read. Great communication will never develop in an echo chamber. You have to expose yourself to great writing in order to know what great writing looks like. Remember to read publications that pertain to your industry to know what terminology and style is appropriate.
- Sign up for Daily Page. The goal of this resource is to help you write regularly. You receive a daily prompt, write a response, and then decide if you want to keep it private or make it public. This resource is helpful because repetition is key to consistent improvement.
- Join Toastmasters. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by giving and/or listening to speeches. You may want to shop around to find the right club for you. Toastmasters has over 15,900 clubs in 142 countries, so you should have options.
TIP 2: KNOWLEDGE/EDUCATION
- Attend workplace training. This is a convenient way to receive a little more training that can benefit you in the long-run. Not all employers offer such training, so you may need to seek education from an outside source.
- Talk to HR about more school. Find out what kind of financial support your employer provides to help you further your education. Know your options. It is vital to get the right information, so you can make an informed decision.
- Enroll in a master’s program. It has become increasingly common for companies to only consider applicants with master’s degrees, rather than bachelor’s. Consider a degree designed to prepare leaders like the Organizational Leadership & Administration (OLA) program offered online through Concordia University.
TIP 3: SELF-AWARENESS
- Ask for a performance evaluation. Hopefully, your employer already prioritizes annual performance reviews; if not, ask. Performance evaluations provide an opportunity to identify areas for improvement, address personal concerns, and negotiate promotions and salary increases.
- Sign up for a FREE Self-leadership course. You cannot lead others without leading yourself first! This Concordia course gives you the tools to identify and harness the internal and external influences in your life.
- Take a personality quiz. Knowing how you think and act helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses. This is particularly helpful for understanding how you interact with team members. If you want the most accurate results, pay for the official Myers-Briggs test. Free variations sometimes give helpful information, but are not especially credible.
TIP 4: NETWORKING
- Create/Maintain your LinkedIn account. Companies use this resource to recruit new employees; professionals use it to form mutually beneficial connections. Unfortunately, merely having an account is not enough to adequately network. The good news: if you aren’t sure how to make the most of LinkedIn, the Managing Your Personal Brand On LinkedIn course with a LinkedIn consultant provides need-to-know information. The better news: as of the date of publishing, this Concordia Academy course is only $25!
- Set lunch dates with influential co-workers. In a digital world, it is vital to build face-to-face relationships whenever possible. Enjoying lunch provides a great opportunity to casually get to know other people and their connections. Bonus: you get to work on your oral communication skills!
TIP 5: ONLINE PRESENCE
- Research the basics of online presence. A previous post of ours explores what a healthy online presence looks like with4 Power Tips to Grow Your Online Presence. Fear not! You don’t have to be a tech wizard to take control of your online information.
- Create an online professional portfolio. Have you ever Googled yourself? If the obituary of someone you don’t know pops up, your online presence needs some work. PortfolioGen is a resource that allows you to share your professional achievements with peers and administrators.
- Take the Digital Influencer Academy courses. If you aren’t sure where to start creating your online presence, thisAcademy teaches you how manage and monetize your online presence. Did we mention that Academy courses through Concordia are a fraction of the cost of a traditional course?
If you follow through on just one step per tip, you are well on your way to becoming an effective leader. Imagine the possibilities if you picked two steps per tip! If leadership is important for reaching your career goals, consider the OLA master’s program with Concordia University Online. With this program, you have the opportunity to complete a master’s degree AND your New Year’s resolution by this time next year! Make a meaningful resolution and have a wonderful New Year!
— Kali Thiel is director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-243-2149.
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