Want to foster a productive year and kick off 2022 on the right foot? If so, set New Year’s resolutions for your team. Taking the advice from our expert #ManagerChats panelists, we will break down the best New Year’s Resolutions to try and the practical ways to achieve them. 

Let’s dive in..

Why should teams have New Year’s resolutions?

New Year’s resolutions give your team an important mission to work towards. These goals can vary from quantitative goals like increasing your monthly revenue by an X amount to more qualitative goals like fostering a better work environment. 

Additionally, pursuing challenging goals helps create career growth for your team. The more you achieve, personally and as a team, the more you will learn and grow. 

According to Sabina Nawaz, Harvard Business Review contributor, although goals are a great thing, it’s essential to start small; “It’s great to dream big, but the way to achieve big is to start small — through micro habits.” 

If we set out to achieve big things from the beginning, we are more likely to fail at our resolutions because they become overwhelming and unrealistic. Think of it as your training at work. On your first day, you likely were only shown a few things. And each day after, you were taught more and more until you were done training. If you were shown everything in one day and then told you were done training, you’d feel lost and overwhelmed. Similarly, if you start with a large goal rather than smaller goals that help you to achieve the larger goal, you will feel lost and overwhelmed. 

Run better meetings.

If you want to improve the way your meetings run, try a free tool like Fellow for collaborative meeting agendas, fostering accountability, and more!

6 New Year resolutions your team should try

Check out these 6 New Year resolutions that our expert panelists have shared to set you and your team up for a year of accomplishments. 

1 Create a psychologically safe environment 

A psychologically safe environment is one where everyone feels safe to share their ideas. And as you can guess, this is extremely important. 

According to Alexandra Sunderland, Engineering Manager at Fellow, the way that she fosters a psychologically safe environment with her team is through:

  • Being upfront about your own mistakes
  • Running blameless retrospectives
  • Listening to and implementing changes from feedback
  • Being open about the feedback that you’ve been given
  • Giving people space to talk

And according to Carlos Silva, SEO Content Manager at Chili Piper, he believes that the first step to fostering a psychologically safe environment is by making it a priority. 

“Communication is key. I always say, over-communicate. When your team is brave enough to challenge the status quo, be open-minded, compassionate, and empathetic.”

2 Have a culture of feedback

According to Kim Scott, co-founder at just Work and Radical Candor, to build a feedback culture, you have to ask for feedback about yourself first. 

More expert tips come from Brooklin Nash, freelancer and content marketer, saying that “Honest feedback is the key to better content, including my own. I started by consistently asking for feedback from my reports on my writing, projects, and ideas. When it came time to give feedback on others’ work, the whole thing felt more collaborative.”

3 Foster trust with your team

According to a Harvard Business Review article, “recent research suggests that our mass shift to working from home during the pandemic has started to corrode our trust in our colleagues.” Thus, it is even more important in remote environments to foster trust with your team. 

Additionally, “By fostering organizational trust, you can increase employees’ productivity and energy levels, improve collaboration, and cultivate a happier, more loyal workforce”, says Paul J. Zak, Harvard Business Review contributor.

One tip to foster trust with your team comes from Gregory Bailey, Founder of Denim; “Showing your team members you care not only about their work but also their life goes a long way in building trust.” Start your one-on-one meetings by asking questions and having a short, casual conversation about their hobbies or interests. 

Another one of our experts, Will Goto, CEO at Rize, emphasized the importance of transparency; “No one loves being left in the dark, your team members can sense when this is happening, and it destroys trust faster than you think.” Share as much as possible with your team to keep them informed, explaining the why behind decisions, and make them feel apart of the bigger picture. 

4 Learn to say no (and when to ask for help)

It’s often natural to automatically say yes when asked to take on more responsibility. You want to be helpful and be viewed as hardworking. However, understanding when to say no is just as  important to ensure that your mental health and quality of work don’t suffer. 

Sunderland suggests delegating work to your team members when your bandwidth is stretched to its max. “Let your team take on some of those stretch goal tasks. They’ll grow and have ownership!” 

Additionally, Goto says “Always have a clear goal for yourself and your team, and understand where the limits are in terms of time and resources. This helps you understand priorities so that you can say no to anything that’s not at the top of the list.”

5 Improve communication

A productive team communicates well. Manuela Bárcenas, Marketing Manager at Fellow, shared a tip, which originated from Alice Ko, to use the acronym “NRN” when sending people messages to let them know ‘No Reply Necessary’. This is important because when you are focused on a task or in the middle of doing deep work, notifications can become highly distracting and pull you off-track. 

Another tip from Silva is to conduct regular one-on-one’s, follow up with clear feedback to keep team members on track and let them know how they’re doing for continuous improvement.

6 Master difficult conversations

Difficult conversations are often inevitable. Nevertheless, they’re important for team development. Bárcenas provides three tips to tackle difficult conversations headfirst:

  • Prepare in advance
  • Let silence do the heavy lifting
  • Deliver the message with conviction and compassion

Another tip from Bailey is to ask for help from a trusted mentor or leader. “Stay calm and remember to breathe. In the end, everything will be okay.” Additionally, according to Nash, it is important to be direct, start with questions, and focus on the outcome. 

Parting advice

According to Steve Martin, “while over half of individuals surveyed who made New Year’s resolutions were confident of success, in reality, only around 12% actually achieved their goal.” Following the tips from our expert panelists will help you remain in that 12% of successors to achieve your 2022 New Year’s resolutions. 

Some final inspiration to achieve your resolutions from Sunderland is to “make sure that your team is using their strengths and getting to work on things that they enjoy and help them grow. They’ll be happier, and you’ll constantly be leveling up your team! It’s a win-win.”