Become A Better Leader In The New Year

For many people, the new year equals new goals. If becoming a better leader is one of them, here are four tips to help you level up your leadership performance.

#1: Learn from your past experiences

“Our past is full of lessons and insights,” says leadership coach Tony Martignetti, Chief Inspiration Officer of Inspired Purpose Partners. “Understanding our past allows us to recognize the patterns in our behaviors. Learn from your past mistakes but leverage your successes as well — because it’s not just about looking at where we’ve gone wrong. It’s also about where we’ve been able to celebrate the things that have worked well.”

#2: Share your own stories

Storytelling is well-known to be one of the most effective elements to build trust, which is a crucial component of any strong leader. Yet, many leaders fail to work with their internal communication teams on any sort of personal storytelling campaign, opting instead to focus their communications on business updates. But that’s missing an opportunity to build connections, display openness, and lead by example. For instance, one C-suite leader of a large financial institution hosted a mental health summit, where he shared his own experiences with negative mental health. This bold sharing created a safer space for employees to discuss their own needs.

Martignetti emphasizes that leaders should increase their storytelling frequency. “It was a missing component in a lot of leaders who I’ve talked with. They don’t focus enough on the storytelling elements, not just in their own stories, but also in the stories that illuminate what they’re trying to get done within the business.”

It’s not just about showing vulnerability, Martignetti stresses. Rather, it’s about showcasing diverse paths to leadership. “There’s not just one way to get to leadership,” he says. “Sometimes it’s about stumbling into leadership, and that’s okay.” These non-linear paths to leadership can be inspiring as everyone has varied pasts, and it provides hope that there’s a way for everyone to get to those leadership positions.

#3: Shift your narrative

Related to learning from the past and sharing your story is doing the deep reflective work busy leaders often don’t make time for. But what this reflective work creates is the time and space to shift past narratives to understand how you have perhaps grown from setbacks, or turned obstacles into opportunity. In short, it’s about building resilience.

Research has shown that resilience is one of the key factors in being a successful leader. Resilient leaders are simply better equipped to handle the challenges of their roles. Martignetti agrees. “This [reflective] mindset fosters resilience and confidence, and that’s an essential trait for thriving in the workplace.” After all, people value you to the extent to which you value yourself.

#4: Lead with purpose

“Traditional leadership often focuses on driving results,” says Martignetti. But the next set of leaders needs to lead with purpose to be truly inspiring. “It has a self-awareness component to it. It’s about asking what kind of leader you want to be, and understanding the deeper connection you have to your people.”

Leading with purpose isn’t a hindrance to your company’s bottom line; rather, purpose-driven businesses frequently outperform their profit-driven counterparts. And the boost to retention cannot be overlooked. MetLife reports that only 30% of those without purposeful work intend to still be with their company in 12 months.

Martignetti ends with this inspiring advice for leaders. “Align your actions with your values, and don’t be afraid to diverge from the expected path.”


Adapted from, “4 Tips To Become A Better Leader In The New Year,” by Lindsay Kohler