Yesterday the sun set on 2015; today, the sun rose on 2016. At these annual transitions, it is customary to look back on the year behind with an eye to identifying what to improve in the year ahead. The usual suspects are well-known: from fitness to finances, resolving to improve begins as soon as the last notes of Auld Lang Syne ring out.
In his fantastic book Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality, Dr. Henry Cloud describes the effect Leaders have as the “wake” they leave behind. Just as the ship that cuts through the water, the wake a Leader leaves through an organization has two sides:
- Performance – how well they did the tasks required of their position
- People – the effect their leadership had on the people led by them
It’s all to0 easy and simple to use the year’s end/new year transition to judge Performance and plan its improvement. There are metrics to measure, numbers to hit/miss, and grades to be given … goals to set, expectations to raise, and plans to implement.
But what about that other, equally important side to your wake? How do you measure your impact on the people in your organization? What improvements can you work towards in 2016? Here are three suggestions taken from some of my favorite reads:
- Lead in ways that make your people feel safe and protected, not afraid. (Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek)
- Provide your people as much information as possible, and the authority to do something with it. (Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by Gen. Stanley McChrystal)
- Lead so people’s brains can follow. (Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge by Dr. Henry Cloud)
Focusing on the People side of the leadership wake isn’t soft or less important than the Performance side. As a Leader, your performance rises and falls with the performance of your People. Want to raise your performance in 2016? Up your People game.