The start of the new year is a perfect time to consider upgrading your LOS—Leadership Operating System. Your LOS is a collection of the leadership traits, styles, techniques, and strategies you use to lead and manage people, and it’s imperative to make sure your LOS is up to date if you want to maximize your effectiveness. Failing to upgrade your LOS may result in your leadership becoming outdated and sluggish, and you run a higher risk of suffering a fatal system crash.
I recommend you follow these three steps to upgrade your LOS for 2016:
1. Do a backup of 2015 — Before you begin any system update, it’s a good practice to back up your existing data. Backing up your LOS involves taking stock of your leadership experiences this past year. What worked well for you in 2015? Where did you do your best work? Give yourself a pat on the back for your successes and don’t be shy about tactfully sharing them with your boss, especially if he/she isn’t one to naturally recognize your efforts. Conversely, a good LOS backup also involves cataloguing where you fell short and reflecting on the lessons you learned from those experiences.
2. Determine the new LOS programs you want to install — What new things do you need to learn in 2016 in order to be a better leader? Where do you need to improve? The best leaders are continuous learners, always seeking new ways to improve their craft. Examining the areas for improvement you identified in your backup is a good place to start. Another helpful strategy is to ask for feedback, especially from those you lead. It takes some courage and willingness to be vulnerable to ask other people how you can improve, but the discomfort will pale in comparison to the insights you’ll gain.
3. Reboot — It’s time to Ctrl-Alt-Delete your leadership from 2015. Installing an updated LOS means you need to have a fresh start before you can move forward and there’s no better time than the new year to reboot your system. You may have accomplished some amazing things in 2015, and likewise, you may have had some epic failures. But you know what? Your success doesn’t last forever and your failure isn’t fatal. Honor and learn from what 2015 brought you but leave it there in the past. The new year beckons and there is much work to be done.
No one likes following a leader who runs an outdated Leadership Operating System. Running an old LOS may allow you to accomplish the basic tasks of leadership, but if you really want to perform at your best AND get the best out of your followers, take the time to upgrade your LOS to v.2016. You won’t regret it.
Happy New Year!