Looking back at 2023 may bring about bitter-sweet memories as the world fights through yet another year of the global pandemic. Thankfully, we have managed to stay hopeful and resilient in the face of adversity, ready to march into 2024 with renewed hope.
Our heart goes out to all the managers who have stayed strong in a swiftly changing landscape working in the project management industry.
We don’t know how you plan on structuring your new year, but we sure have a list of New Year’s resolutions for managers that make a lot of sense.
If, by chance, you were looking for some inspiration, here are ten ideas for you to consider!
1. Embrace the magical power of flexibility (and help your team embrace it too)
A critical lesson that remote work has taught us is how to be flexible in our approach to work management. You could be super productive on Monday, stretching your schedule past 9 PM, but take it easy on Friday as you travel with your work laptop to your grandparent’s home.
Flexible working frees you to do more.
It allows you to pack more work and play in your day, but at the same time, it can hinder your performance if unchecked. Many people are still learning how to balance work and home, as they work from home.
You could, for yourself and your team, resolve to embrace flexibility purely and healthily.
This means collaborating closely in tandem with your team members’ flexible schedules. Open up avenues for remote work, in-office work, work-ation – whichever fits best with your team. Make sure they understand the accompanying responsibilities well and, most importantly, they’re taking care of their health.
Resolve to be more flexible and free yourself of productivity constraints.
2. Balance out work challenges with work support
It’s already a well-known fact, and new research also states that challenging (not hindering) work can boost employees’ organization-based self-esteem and make work meaningful for them.
Employees enjoy accomplishing new things at work – it makes them feel valued and worthy of more accomplishments on the way.
But if there are only work challenges and no support to win over them, the theory may start backfiring. Here, the line of control lies in the manager’s hands, and they can orient the team so that members are exposed to challenging work, primarily that drives their innate talents.
At the same time, they have to be wary of not making it a lone battle. Resolve to support employees with constructive feedback, provide uplift resources, and show the path to demolish challenges.
When your employees flourish, you win at work.
Managing remote work can be challenging, with ProofHub you can manage employees far and wide easily.
3. When someone does a good job, go and tell them!
How Tony Shwartz at HBR has commented on appreciation at work is an eye-opener. He says, “We’re not fluent in the language of positive emotions in the workplace. We’re so unaccustomed to sharing them that we don’t feel comfortable doing so.”
This may explain why it is handed out quite underwhelmingly despite a severe need for appreciation at work. A sincere and honest remark about someone’s “good job done” can make their day and help them deal better with other negative emotions at work.
You, as a manager, can learn some golden lessons here. Pleasant appreciation starts with the ability to see the genuine positives in people. We’re invariably tactful at finding errors and faults, but looking at the brighter parts of your team isn’t something so natural.
Hence, you can work on building appreciation, a charming part of your skillset as a manager.
4. Find out what self-care means for you and practice it
Burnout is on the rise. We needn’t quote scientific research to show you how visible the effects of social distancing have been.
You, at some point, would also have lost motivation to work, spent hours staring at the screen, or overworked to the end of over-exhaustion.
There is an urgent need to practice self-care to make 2024 less taxing in terms of your physical and mental health.
Now self-care looks different to everyone. For many, it may be about shutting the laptop strictly at 6 pm, while for others, it may count as their monthly therapist check-in.
Managers who deal with excessive stress can resolve to make 2024 the year of self-care. It starts with figuring out the kind of care you desire and how to get it. We often don’t volunteer to understand our self-care needs, making it hard to practice it.
Side hobby? Gym routine? Therapy? Find the care you need and begin your journey towards it.
5. Make silence your new best friend
We understand that managers are looked up to for several difficult decisions and pieces of wisdom. “Talk to your manager” is an overused corporate phrase for solving employee issues.
Could this be making you reactive instead of responsive? If yes, it may be an excellent time to start listening in silence to boost your managerial skills.
Listening carefully to your team members and then coming up with ideas can truly change how you handle challenging situations.
In a survey by Towers Watson, it was found that the workers’ perception of how concerned their manager is about their wellbeing is the biggest driver of engagement.
Your team members may start feeling disengaged if they believe they’re not being listened to and their concerns are not met with due severity.
Hence, taking a step back in meetings and aiding your employees to speak up while you listen in silence could be an impactful resolution to make this year.
6. Work on where you lost most of your time
Employees can waste up to 50 days of a year doing repetitive work.
While we can’t expect either managers or employees to be productive all the time, it’s healthy to investigate where the unproductive time goes.
Without digging into how your co-workers may be utilizing their time, you’re on time to reflect upon where your own unkempt time is wasting away.
2023 is already leaving, and no time can be carried-forward to 2024. Therefore, you can think of ways you’ll be putting a cork on activities that cost you productive time.
Many would say that they’ll try to reduce their smartphone usage at work or that they’ll start using a time-keeping software – but the avenue is wide open.
Take the first week of January to understand how you can better spend your time. And by that, you can strive to be richer throughout the 12 months!
7. Meaning-making at work
December is the time when one is surrounded by existential thoughts like, “Where is my life headed?”, “Am I thrilled?”, “Is this just me?”
If you are caught amongst such ponderings, you might want to review how you make meaning at work.
One of the most potentially valuable resolutions to make this year could be investing in meaning-making.
It involves asking yourself – “What are the things that I find meaningful at work?”
Is it your drive to lead with compassion? Or the social pleasure of working in a team? Or the many opportunities to solve pressing problems?
It could be something relatively trivial too. Such as getting to meet new people every month.
Understand what lends you meaning and explore how to leverage it to permeate more meaning in your work life.
There are umpteen examples of people who have led highly dissatisfied careers for a long time, but once they began realizing the true meaning, they could find motivation and comfort in what they do.
Bonus: Here’s a holiday read for you to explore this concept – Man’s Search for Meaning.
8. Learn, unlearn and revamp virtual skills
Thankfully, many of us have learned how to unmute while speaking at a virtual team meeting, but there’s still a long way to go.
Even if all social distancing measures are to be removed, several pointers depict that virtual work is not going anywhere.
Insights offered by McKinsey talk about organizations planning to continue remote work, downsize their physical offices and invest in flexible working.
This calls for managers, who would be dealing with more remote employees than ever, to improve their virtual skills. This means working on your remote work management skills, getting attuned with digital tools for remote work, and getting better at virtual meetings.
It is safe to say that managers have become more accustomed to the small way of working than they were before. It still requires constant work on virtual skills for career benefits and personal development.
9. Practice the art of leading through examples
At least at the team level, managers play several leadership responsibilities that impact the effectiveness of their work.
You must have come across certain manager personalities that like stating their beliefs and values way too often. “I am saying this is on your face because I believe in honesty” – such statements are commonplace with managers who use superfluous verbiage when it comes to leading.
Inevitably, this can make the team resentful of the manager. Instead, the managers can lead through their actions and let the team follow what they do.
It’s a well-known fact that team members are heavily influenced by their leaders’ attitudes and work ethics. If the manager is on-point, disciplined, and gives their best to their work, the team will have an unsaid benchmark to meet.
10. One upskilling activity for every quarter
Acquiring a management position marks a significant milestone in one’s career. Learning the ropes of management is a lifelong process. Therefore, the last of New Year’s Resolutions For Managers consists of upskilling activities.
An Upskilling and Reskilling survey carried out by TalentLMS depicts that about 42% of companies have leveled up their employee upskilling initiatives since the pandemic hit. Thus the opportunities for the same are on the rise.
To make this a proper resolution, you should focus on picking at least one activity for every quarter. Usually, an upskilling training such as a project management course or business communications certificate takes less than 3-4 months.
Hence, you can successfully undertake the same alongside managing your day job.
It’s not essential what new year resolution you end up picking; important is that you select one. In a way, new year resolutions give us a token of growth and a goalpost to work towards. Even if you plan on losing a few kilograms of the stay-at-home weight or painting a wall – it’s perfect!
At last, stay safe, enjoy yourself and count your blessings.