How do you know where you need to improve? Where do you start? Let’s kick off the new year with some actionable steps.
In an age of self-diagnosis, it’s a wonder why we don’t have executives and leaders knowing what they need to improve, and doing so. The usual reason behind this gap? They’re busy getting shit done. I hear you… but that doesn’t solve the problem. In order to improve you have to take action. Here’s where to start:
Where do I have room to improve:
- People don’t always understand me.
- I get frustrated, or angry, often.
- I don’t fully know where we stand today (or this quarter).
- I don’t fully know what the plan for the year is.
- My team doesn’t seem to get my vision or goals.
- I don’t seem to have the right people working for me.
- I don’t sleep well.
- I have no time for hobbies (or friends), or to relax.
- I’m not feeling well, or particularly healthy.
Where to start:
- Know yourself. What personality type are you? Are you a great communicator? Are you emotionally intelligent, emotionally mature? No one is perfect, yet you need to know where you stand. If you’re experiencing numbers 1-6 above then you have a communication issue. communication is complicated, or complemented, by emotional stability, maturity, and intelligence. This site, and this book, are some great starting points.
- Work on communication. Communication is a never-ending area of improvement. Your goal is to be understood, while preserving the relationship(s). Sounds easier than it actually is in practice, but it’s not impossible. Knowing your goals, values, and morals creates a foundation. Being authentic and open-minded creates the environment. Here are some articles on Communication.
- Work on emotional maturity. Great communicators can fail when they allow too many emotions in… or not enough. Humans have emotions, and a purely logical conversation doesn’t always make sense. It’s a balance based on goals and understanding. Emotions are a tool for responding to life. You’ve got to get to know, and appreciate, yours before you can use them appropriately.
- Hire for pure competence. As a woman, I find it odd to hire me because I am female… or not hire me because I’m female. Sure, there are situations where sex may be relevant for a role, but these are few and far between. As much as diversity adds a different view or opinion, you should always look for the most competent person to fill a role. You should not see their sex, race, religion, family status, disability, or age. Rarely do those elements impact a role. Competence always impacts a role, and the success of your business, and their performance. Hire the right person, and always be open to who that right person is even if they aren’t who you’d initially expect for the role. When you hire the right person everything falls into place. They may cost more, they may not fit your idea of the “compatible” person, but their competence will bridge all gaps.
- Feed your people. This is a long and ever-changing list of needs your teams has in order to be productive, efficient, growing, and happy. Inital things to review are salary and benefits, how you measure performance and success (be objective), the relationship to the goals of your company and the goals of your employee, the communication loop and feedback between you and the team, and how you each express your expectations. Feed your people as if you were feeding your soul.
- Feed yourself. Everything you put into your body affects you. Your meals, your entertainment, your environment, your friends, everything. You’re impressed with this stimulation, and whether you see it immediately or not, you’re creating habits on how you absorb and respond. Be careful what you feed yourself. Eat well, rest well, keep visual and auditory crap to a minimum, remove time wasters, and increase those things that bring you peace, excitement, growth/challenge, and joy. Choose with purpose.
- Be grateful, always. Find joy every day. Wake up and consider the positive things in your life for the first few minutes. Visualize a warm thought or memory and let the joy of it bring you back to that time. Feel the love. Be grateful for anything, and everything.
Self-improvement is what you make of it. Any action taken to improve oneself will lead the way to more growth, more opportunity, and more realization. You cannot improve without action… and the bigger the action, the greater the improvement. Don’t let fear keep you from moving forward, fear is a liar. Stare fear in the face and kick its ass. You can always be better, you can always kick ass more.