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COO’s Corner: 5 Resolutions for Business Leaders to Consider in 2021

Resolution season is well underway. After the year we’ve all had, our goals and areas of focus may be a little different in 2021. Here are five suggested resolutions for those in leadership positions to keep in mind as we all prepare for a successful year ahead!

Establish a mentorship program

Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month? Relationships are extremely powerful, and there’s nothing like the relationship between a mentor and a mentee. Mentors are especially great to establish for new hires to help them learn the ropes, develop those crucial relationships and fine-tune their skills, but also consider how these principles can be applied to your team long term. Of course, organizations already have informal mentorships as employees look to each other for guidance. However, if your team doesn’t have a formal mentorship program in place, consider creating a structure where identified mentors and mentees meet regularly and tackle set goals and objectives. Established mentoring programs directly contribute to the development of a better trained and more-engaged workforce over time.

Encourage development opportunities – and remember to pursue your own

As a leader, you understand the importance of continued learning and development opportunities. I consistently encourage my team to pursue the opportunities that interest them most, whether they be classes, conferences, workshops or anything in between. At the same time, however, don’t forget to attend to your own professional development! No matter how long you’ve been in the game, there’s always room to learn and grow. For example, All Points PR Senior Director Bailey Hewitt and I each recently earned a Leadership Certificate from Northwestern University’s Professional Development Program last year. In 2021, I not only encourage my own team to refine their skills and explore new opportunities, but I’m also seeking out my own continued education. As you would envision for your team, never stop growing and improving upon your craft as well.

Fine-tune your team’s Zoom etiquette

In the spirit of self-improvement, now might be a good time for your team to brush up on Zoom etiquette and best practices. One way you can lead this initiative is by setting up mock calls with your team, individually or in groups. It can be easy for team members to behave more casually during internal meetings via Zoom. If you frame these mock calls in a different setting, such as if they were on a call with a client or key stakeholder, this will allow you to better observe their behaviors. Note areas of success and improvement among each team member during these calls and present your findings afterward. 

Strive to maintain balance

This is certainly easier said than done, but it’s so important that you maintain balance in your life to avoid burnout. With many of us working from home, the lines can become quite blurry when it comes to leaving work mode and entering at-home mode, and vice versa. Strive to create a balance between your life in and out of the workplace by setting appropriate boundaries and sticking to them. And, don’t forget to take breaks! Step away from the computer and do something for yourself during lunchtime, whether it’s getting some fresh air or reading a book. Finally, we’ve left a challenging year behind, but there’s still plenty of stressful issues and uncertainties in today’s world. Know when it’s time to put down your phone, turn off the TV and focus on you – not the news.

 Be ready to roll with the punches

If there’s one lesson I’ve taken away from 2020, it’s that you need to be ready to roll with the punches. Expect the unexpected and know that not everything in life goes as planned. You’ve adapted, faced your own adversities and overcome barriers before – trust that you’re prepared to deal with the new year ahead and any obstacles you may face. Resolve to handle them as best as you can, because all you can do is try your best.

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

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