Expert Tips for C-Suite New Year’s Resolutions

As we settle into 2023, coaches and workplace pros recommend taking the long view and focusing on wellness—your staff's and your own.

It’s mid-January, which means enough time has passed for a few of your new year’s resolutions to fall by the wayside. But there’s still plenty of time to redouble your efforts as you focus on the year ahead.

Indeed, one important step that leaders can take in 2023 is to work on developing a broader perspective, said Carol Vernon, a former association executive and principal of Communication Matters, an executive coaching firm. The pandemic era has forced many organizations to respond to urgent needs, she said, but leaders should commit to taking a longer view.

“There’s been more short-term thinking—we’ve had to respond to changes, learn how to work at home, figure out the hybrid world,” she said. “But we need a mindset shift from the short-term thinking that helped us get through the past few years.”

To do that, Vernon said, leaders can take a cue from their associations’ strategic plan, looking at both long-term goals and short-term operations. “It requires more intentionality—you’ll want to break things down and think about where you’re going tomorrow, next month, the next decade,” she said. “It’s the consistency of the process that makes the difference.”

We need a mindset shift from short-term thinking.

Executive coach Carol Vernon

Vernon also recommended that leaders resolve to take advantage of the new era of hybrid work and distributed teams to let go of the reins a little and promote accountability throughout an organization.

“The most effective leaders are the ones who are ensuring that accountability is shared throughout the team,” she said. “They’re infusing accountability. That’s what sets people up for success.”

Empathy and Well-Being

Much of the advice experts like Vernon have shared in the new year focuses on soft skills. At Forbes, for instance, well-being consultant Oliver Henry recommended that organizations conduct a “well-being audit” that looks at the current state of your workers and what offerings do and don’t work. Through that process, he told Forbes, leaders “will gather a thorough body of evidence to help make informed well-being decisions.”

That well-being audit should include the leaders themselves. Also writing at Forbes, author and consultant Bryan Robinson recommended that leaders resolve to make time to recharge: “Indulge in a restorative activity—a hobby, yoga, massage, meditation or hot bath—that rejuvenates your mind and body,” he wrote. 

Attentive listening also topped many lists of new year’s executive recommendations. Author and business professor Dr. Ranjit Nair, posted a list at the Caldwell University website that stressed open and flexible conversations: “be open-minded, be an active listener, be present for others,” he advised. 

When it comes to empathetic leadership, though, Vernon stressed that leaders shouldn’t be looking for lifehacks or one-size-fits-all solutions. Individual people have specific challenges that should be heard out and addressed as well as possible.

“One thing leaders should do is help people identify where they’re making the best longer-term contribution,” she said. “How do they need to develop? It’s a whole lot more than just understanding people’s scheduled needs. It’s about understanding that there are different ways people contribute to organizations.”

(Cn0ra/iStock/Getty Images)

Mark Athitakis

By Mark Athitakis

Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor for Associations Now, has written on nonprofits, the arts, and leadership for a variety of publications. He is a coauthor of The Dumbest Moments in Business History and hopes you never qualify for the sequel. MORE

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