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Main Street: Jan. 2, 2019

January 2, 2019

As this is my first column for the new year, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a prosperous, safe and happy new year. May your year be filled with blessings and opportunities to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie, “A Wonderful Life,” in which Clarence, the guardian angel, tells George Bailey, “All that you can take with you is that which you have given away.”

We are all reminded success is not the accumulation of wealth or having the most toys; rather, we are remembered and become truly successful by and through our deeds, which live beyond our physical life and into eternity.

A major proposition underlying this theme is to avoid destructive habits, which certainly can derail your ability to lead others. Therefore, great leaders use empowerment strategies to create a culture of excellence and success in the organization.

I recently read an interesting article penned by Deep Patel, “15 Destructive Habits Every Leader Should Let Go Of.” I would like to highlight these salient points and then add in parentheses my comments on how to add this to your leadership domain.

• Not making time for reflection: (Take the necessary time to critically reflect on the tasks at hand [strategically] and then implement [tactically] procedures to accomplish the most pressing goals and objectives of the day.)

• Lacking initiative: (Central to lacking initiative is not ascertaining the facts before making a decision. This can result in sloppy and often-times inefficiencies that derail critical thinking and bad decisions often ensue.)

• Micromanaging: (Micromanagers often nitpick and stifle creativity in the organization. Rather, empower your direct reports to be creative and become independent thinkers unified under the umbrella of organizational success.)

• Not listening: (Being a passive and disinterested listener suffocates communication. Rather, be an active listener by establishing eye contact, being engaged, and offering appropriate feedback when required.)

• Ignoring feedback: (Good leaders engage in open dialogue and being able to receive feedback creating open communications and effective dialogue. Become receptive to other’s ideas and opposing viewpoints to foster better decision-making in the organization.)

• Not following through: (One of the most destructive habits in the organization is when leaders do not follow through on what they say they will do. Be true to your word and create a culture of trust and understanding of what is needed from every team member. Hold everyone accountable to their word.)

• Taking all the credit: (Great leaders give all the credit to their team and take the responsibility for failure. By sharing the spotlight with your team, you create increased productivity, morale, and a culture of excellence.)

• Ignoring risks: (The best defense is a great offense. To mitigate risk, review what can and oftentimes may go wrong, and then, implement a strategic and tactical response to handle or negate potential risks in the organization.)

• Letting self-doubt overwhelm you: (Great leaders ignore the whispers of doubt and accentuate the positive of a “can do” mentality. Having a bit of skepticism peppered with confidence goes a long way in establishing a recipe of success rather than failure.)

• Blaming others: (Weak leaders blame others; great leaders ignite people’s passions and commitment by taking responsibility for their own short-comings or failures and then using them as learning opportunities for others in the organization.)

• Indecisiveness: (Indecisive leaders decide by not deciding. Fear of failure often is the byproduct of indecisiveness. Great leaders forge ahead and measure the risk of failure and then make decisions based on facts ultimately accept the fate and responsibility of their decisions.)

• Negativity: (This is the death knell of any organization. Negativity breeds negativity. Great leaders employ constructive criticism and use teachable moments of past failures to promote courage in their direct reports decisions.)

• Being a know-it-all: (There is nothing worse than working with someone who thinks they know it all. In fact, it adds up to the person having an unrealistic expectation of their abilities and rides in tandem with being a narcissist. Rather, check your ego at the door and be a team player, accentuating and cultivating a culture of engagement.)

• Being an emotional tyrant: (Emotional tyrants foster an atmosphere of dissonance, which literally sucks the air out of the room. They revel in making everyone miserable around them and utilize these negative emotions as a perverted power-play. It is never OK to emotionally abuse someone in the organization.)

• Not recognizing hard work: (Great leaders promote a culture of recognition and accomplishment. A simple pat on the back or some form of public acknowledgment goes a long way in cementing loyal and hard-working team members. A geometric progression of excellence results when we publicly acknowledge work well done.)

Illuminating the premise of this article from the beginning, “All that you can take with you is that which you have given away.” From this perspective, and one certainly worth recalling, what is it that you want to give away and be remembered for in your life?”

This new year offers all of us the ability to eliminate negative habits and engage in a spirit of excellence. Remember, excellence is never a choice, but rather, it is a habit that must be purposed and achieved each day.

My new year’s wish for all of you is to engage in a spirit of excellence and be mindful that what you do today is what you will be remembered for.

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