“Brad” was a solid manager with stagnated results. He was great at constructive feedback and holding his team accountable, but recognition did not come naturally to him. “Why should I say thank you to someone for just doing their job?” He was frustrated with his team’s apathetic approach, which only made him less inclined to celebrate the good stuff. As you can imagine his team began to feel like they “couldn’t do anything right,” which led to a downward spiral of more apathy and frustration.
We asked him to just add one new behavior to his daily routine–notice people on his team doing something right and tell them.
Everything else could stay the same. He committed to conducting five informal recognition moments a day, which meant that he had to go out of his way to find the good things that were happening, say something about them, and to measure them.
He put five rubber bands in his left pocket, and each time he observed (and affirmed) a positive behavior, he could move one rubber band to the right pocket. The goal was to finish with all the rubber bands in the right pocket by the end of the day.
That one simple change made a huge impact. His team began to do more of the behaviors he was encouraging, and he had less negative behaviors to criticize, reversing the spiral.
One simple change. Executed and measured well, made the difference.
How To Develop One New Leadership Habit in the New Year
You can live on old habits for a while, but the future depends on investing in finding and building some new ones with (and for) your customers. Or your family. Or yourself. The most powerful insight is that you can do it with intent. You can decide that you want some new habits, and then go get them. -Seth Godin
If you’re like many leaders we work with, you’ve got a long list of good intentions–habits and behaviors that you know could make you a stronger leader if you did them consistently. But it’s hard. Old habits are hard to break, and you’re busy. It’s easier to just keep leading the old way.
At what cost?
What would happen if you picked JUST ONE of those behaviors and made it a habit?
Perhaps for you, it’s…
- Calling five detractor customers each day to understand what went wrong
- Reading to your child 20 minutes each day
- Blocking one hour each day of white space on your calendar to think and plan strategically
- A proactive, organized approach to updating your boss each week
- A 15-minute walk at lunchtime
- Holding a meaningful 10-minute huddle with your team each day
- Meeting with each direct report for 30 minutes each week
- Pick one behavior you know that if you performed it consistently would help your team.
- Set a specific goal. Determine EXACTLY what will you do and how will you measure it.
- Measure the times you do the behavior each day.
- Repeat each day for one month.
- Assess the impact–after one month look at the impact on both results and relationships.
Don’t worry about tackling your whole list of ways to be a better leader… just pick one new behavior and work on it consistently, every day, until it becomes a habit.
YOUR TURN: What could you do with five rubber bands in your pocket?