Decisions, decisions, decisions, as the old saying goes… but which ones need to be made to lead the team in right direction come January? While January is an ideal time for a fresh start, and it’s approaching soon, these decisions will propel each and every leader into greater clarity and more purposeful progress in his or her desired direction. Whether you are the leader who needs a bit of new year direction, or the leader who needs to make changes, re-energize or reengage a team, or simply needs to get everyone on the same page again, make each one of these three decisions and watch your results powerfully change.

What Needs to Stop?

Decision one will be comprised of all those items or the one item that continues to plague your progress. Perhaps there is one goal that you keep meaning to lead to completion and it just keeps showing up year after year. Are you done with it yet or is it time to make something happen? Perhaps there are actions of employees or the collective team that finally need to be addressed and ceased. Or perhaps there are actions you take, reactions you make, mistakes you commit, or areas of your work or home you neglect that need to stop forthwith. Those in a position of leadership, by title or mere role, lead themselves through progressive improvement, which begins with the decision about what one needs to stop doing.

What Needs to Start?

If you’re like most achievers, you have a list of potential achievements that in any new period, you look forward to completing. Whether in one’s personal life, work responsibilities, development of others, or even things to do before one retires, what needs to start, get commitment, and have you take on leadership of it so that getting it done comes to fruition? Some areas to consider include: finally completing a project that has been on the list too long; learning a new skill that you’ve known you’ve needed for far too long; taking the trip you keep saying you’ll take when you retire; resolving old wounds by being the first brave soul to reach out; or even beginning to finally give yourself permission to let go of some things, take credit for others, and build your own confidence and belief in your value. Maybe it’s time to lead yourself into a new level of performance. Your second most important decision as a leader of both yourself and of others, in your professional or personal environment, is that of determining what to start and picking a date to which you’re willing to commit.

What Do They Need?

Leaders have the privilege of leading, guiding, directing, motivating, coaching, communicating, and recognizing others. But those actions are all based on others and are reactionary in nature. Those who truly succeed in leadership, find a proactive approach to uncovering needs first, most effective. Decide what those you lead need to succeed. Do they need training? Do they need less micromanagement? Do they need to finally be freed up to perform at higher levels in a job for which they are more, well suited? Do they need higher pay, more recognition, less on their plate or a stretch assignment? Do they need you to be the leader who seems to really get them and is able to motivate them effortlessly?   The third most powerful decision the most effective leaders make is made on the heels of deciding what of their own actions to stop, which behaviors, actions or commitments to start, and then taking a much closer look at what others need from them.

With these three decisions made and clarified, your own leadership plan for the coming year or new period, will be robust in nature, and a springboard to more confident, results producing, true leadership.

Monica Wofford, CSP is a leadership development specialist who coaches, consults with, and speaks to leaders of all levels, building their skills, emotional intelligence and authenticity. Author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica may be reached at, or by calling 1-866-382-0121.

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