There are many different things you might want to consider when it comes to leading your team in 2017. But it often starts with a vision. If you can create a vision for what you want to accomplish and how you'll lead your team there, you can be well on your way to success in 2017.
Creating a Vision for the New Year
Start to craft a vision for 2017 by considering what you want to accomplish. What are your main goals for your business in the new year? What type of leadership style will help bring your team on board with this vision? And what types of support might you need to offer to your team in order to help them make this vision a reality?
It may be helpful for you to define the main goals you created for your business, and then get more specific from there. Look at each goal individually and consider what action steps are necessary from both you and your team in order to accomplish them.
In addition, it can be helpful to look back at the past year and consider what did and didn't work for you as a leader. Did you try out an incentive system that didn't quite work out? Did you have better luck by encouraging collaboration among team members? Or did you notice that certain team members could use some additional training or support in order to be effective?
Once you've considered all of those factors, you can start to shape your leadership plan for the new year. This might mean that you decide to change your leadership style. If your team wasn't responding to how you led last year, then you could consider what type of environment might suit them better. This can help you accomplish the new business goals for 2017.
Sharing Your Vision With Your Team
Your team can be such a huge part of what your business accomplishes. With this in mind, you may want to make sure they have a clear understanding of the vision for the new year. Being transparent with your team can help them make any necessary adjustments, since they may be better able to understand what you're expecting from them. It can also help them feel more essential to the business, which in turn can help motivate them to support this vision even more and make it their own.
There are plenty of ways you can go about sharing your vision with team members.
One simple yet straightforward way to do this is to put your vision and a few key goals into a poster. Then hang the poster on the wall in a prominent place for the whole team to see. Or simply write your vision on a central whiteboard marked “Do not erase.”
Another way is to print up the company vision and key goals on small laminated postcards. Give a card to each team member. You can encourage them to hang the card on their cubicle walls, or clip it to their computer monitors, or put it on their desks.
You can also bring up the company's vision and goals during meetings. By talking about the company's vision in meetings, you are informing everyone of what the vision is—and also signalling that you think it’s important. When you give it weight, your team may be more likely to give it weight, too.
But what if you don’t hold company-wide meetings often? You could send an email to the entire company instead.
One last point about communicating a company vision: It isn’t a one-time event. Plan to update team members at least once a quarter on progress toward meeting the vision and goals. Also, remind your direct reports to periodically discuss the company vision—and how it applies to their individual departments—with their direct reports. This is part of the oft-quoted business saying that leaders must “inspect what they expect.” It’s how you can help keep attention on the company’s vision throughout the year.
The way you choose to express your business's vision for 2017 might vary depending on your team and the type of business you run. But if you're able to communicate effectively with team members, you can help keep them apprised of your business's goals and how they can support those goals in the new year and beyond.
Find the Right Tools
From there, you may also find it necessary to implement some new tools or systems in order to support your team. For example, if you've decided to create a more collaborative environment in 2017, then you might consider adding tools like Slack or Asana to your team's process. These tools can help everyone work together and communicate back and forth.
Slack, for instance, can help streamline team communications. You can create channels to organize materials and conversations around different topics. This means people won’t have to dig in multiple places for emails, attachments, chats and other information—this level of organization can help make direct communication easier and more efficient.
A project management tool like Asana or Zoho Projects can help organize project milestones and responsibilities. You can assign tasks, check on status updates and otherwise get a birdseye view of the status in one place. Such tools can help provide a framework for communicating what’s already been done, what still needs to get done and what team members’ respective responsibilities are.
Or maybe you've noticed a particular area of your business where your team struggles. In that case, it might be worth it for you to invest in training or online educational materials that you can share with your team.
For example, if your team could use some social media marketing help, it might be worth it to sign them up for an online course or hire a consultant to come in and give a one-day crash course. Or if your team creates content, consider installing a plugin to your WordPress content management system, such as the Yoast SEO plugin, that guides them through the basics of search engine optimization for each article.
Coming up with a vision and communicating that vision to your team can be key to starting off on the right foot in 2017. But you can't expect that your team members will magically change the way they work from year to year just because you want them to. If you want your team to get more productive, you can help support them by communicating the company's vision fully. If you want them to collaborate more, invest in applications that can help make that easier for them. And if you want them to learn new processes, consider providing the training and tools they'll need to get it done.
The new year can be a great time to make some positive changes for your business. And as the leader of your team, those changes may very well start with you. By creating an environment that fits your team and your business goals, you could be well on your way to a successful 2017.
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