As a new year begins, Petra Wilton advises managers on how to implement their professional resolutions in the office
A new year brings with it the opportunity to set new goals and start afresh, and managers across the country will be looking to do just that. However, we all know it is easy to make resolutions, but much harder to stick to them, so here is our advice on how to try.
1.Dedicate time to development. Our recent Future Forecast report found that 53 per cent of managers surveyed want to devote more time to their own professional development, but this can sometimes be a task individuals put off due to a heavy workload. Assigning time every day to do something to enhance your own development can be really useful. This could be studying for a new qualification such as Chartered Manager status, reading an industry article, researching professional training/events to attend or reflecting on a piece of work you’ve just delivered and how it could have been better. For a great reading list to give you some inspiration, check out the titles shortlisted for this year’s CMI Management Book of the Year prize
2.Write resolutions with your team. When asked what their work resolutions are for 2015, 50 per cent of managers said that they are keen to support the development of their own team, but to do so, this has to happen in collaboration with them. A coaching style of management will reap far more results and should make for a more empowered and happy team to work with, than if a manager sets all the rules. Set small goals together for month on month target dates. The recipe for success is not trying to change too much all at once – small steps and changes can reap big rewards in the long run. If resolutions are broken, work with your team to identify why, then amend accordingly and try again.
3.Work out when you’re at your best – and repeat. 50 per cent of UK managers that we spoke to want to find more ways to be more productive, but sometimes this means looking back to look forward. Think of an example of a recent day when you felt you were proud of what you achieved and one where you did not. Then analyse what made up the different elements of these days. Was it a task you avoided until the last minute? Did you focus on one thing or try to juggle too much at once? Was it something you were really interested in? Did you work best in the morning or afternoon? After you have identified what makes you ‘tick’ in terms of productivity, try to plan future days in a similar fashion, avoiding common distractions in the workplace.
4.Don’t be afraid to take a break. Everyone has to go over and above the day job from time to time, but it is vital not to be working and available all the time. Time off is an important part of doing a good job and staying healthy. Work-life balance is essential to a healthy outlook and 47 per cent of the managers surveyed said that they are keen to improve this balance in 2015. Remember to make time for yourself – make a commitment to leave on time on a number of evenings per week, to not check emails past a certain time in the evening and to ‘switch off’ at weekends and when on annual leave. If working in a team, remember to work as a team and share any ‘out of hours’ tasks that need to be picked up when there is a lot on.
5.Be strict with your available time. Organise your week in a sensible manner, leaving time outside of meetings to focus and actually get work done. Our research found that 45 per cent of managers want to reduce time wasted by unnecessary meetings and emails, as they can drain a lot of time, but not actually achieve the results and objectives you need. If you do have meetings – make them short, succinct and to the point – arriving with a clear agenda and leaving with actions to take away. Emails can be a drain on time too – ask your team to talk to each other more and reduce the number of emails on a daily basis. It is also down to you to be more efficient as to when you check them. If writing a document, emails will distract you and you won’t be as productive. Being stricter with your time and plan for the day will lead to you achieving more.
Finally, try writing your resolutions down and send yourself a recurring monthly diary invite to remind yourself to review them. Then at the end of the year you’ll hopefully be able to showcase your achievements and business successes.