It’s common to start off the new year with ambitious plans for self-improvement. Gyms get busier, grocery carts get healthier, closets get organized, courses fill up, you know the drill! But there’s a lot of discussion around the merit of new years resolutions.
Clickbait articles will tell you there’s no point in new years resolutions. As early as January 18, dubbed “Quitter’s Day” by Stava, people give up on their undertakings. And when resolutions get abandoned so quickly, what’s the point?
On the other hand, a lot of people get immense value out of starting the new year with new goals and aspirations. Research by Behavioral Scientist Katy Milkman shows that we view our lives in chapters. With each important date, new experience, dramatic event we’re more likely to change our behaviours. So the beginning of a new year is in no way an arbitrary time to set goals.
At Hypercontext, we don’t subscribe to the ‘what’s the point?’ mentality. Whether you stick with them or not, the new year provides a fresh slate to reflect, reset and establish new intentions.
We spoke with people leaders across many industries to understand how they’d like to approach management this year. From more recognition and encouraging collaboration to prioritizing self-care and listening more, this article is filled with real-life examples of management new years resolutions from your peers.
Jump to a resolution that speaks to you:
- Vicki Yang: Help my team foster stronger relationships
- Jeremy Moser: Celebrate more wins
- Alessandra Colaci: Encourage collaboration & learning internally and externally
- Azeem Ahmad: Be more empathetic
- Jossie Haines: Make self-care my top priority
- Nanda Bhikhari: Reimagine employee engagement
- Matija Laznik: Grow my team
- Mike McPeak: Maintain regular check-ins about both work and job satisfaction
- Meg Murphy: Lead by example when it comes to avoiding burnout
- Aidan Weinrib: Listen more, talk less
- Tom Rielly: Foster more critical and creative thinking within the team
- Tamara Omerovic: Support my team’s career development
- Tyler Eugene Hakes: Be thoughtful
- Amalia Fowler: My resolution is to not have resolutions!
- Hiba Amin: Give myself permission to be vulnerable
- Nandini Sharma: Be a better listener
- Alison Hayter: Amplify my team members’ voices across the organization
- Saurabh Wani: Improve communication with my team
- Foram Sheth: Don’t try to own the struggles
- Anita Chauhan: Approach with empathy
Vicki Yang: Help my team form stronger relationships so we can perform more effectively together
With the hybrid work environment and a lot of remote team members, we don’t get enough opportunities to connect. I want to make sure I create space where we can get to know each other better, give better feedback and be a high-performing team.
I’ve been thinking a lot about leveraging the Johari window and Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing frameworks as we move into the new year.
– Vicki Yang, VP, People Operations, Bonusly
Jeremy Moser: Celebrate more of my team members’ wins
As a manager, celebrating wins in public is a powerful, positive affirmation that your team members are excelling at the work they do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Whether it’s a simple shout-out in your Slack water cooler channel or an internal company newsletter or meeting, sharing the specific success of a team member can build trust, confidence, and both personal + team growth.
It’s important to me as I know how motivating and impactful it is to see your hard work recognized by others, especially during times of remote work when in-person company team building isn’t possible.
I hope to achieve it by setting specific, concrete reminders and goals for the team, and establishing ways to include their achievements in company updates and video meetings. We’ll also accomplish this by putting more of an emphasis on company trajectory and team camaraderie in our meetings.
– Jeremy Moser, Co-Founder and CEO of uSERP
Alessandra Colaci: Encourage collaboration & learning internally and externally
Continuous learning is important to me, and I strive to instill that in my team. The best way to learn is to talk to other people and share insights on what’s working for each of you.
The first step is to work across internal teams where collaboration can lead to a better understanding of your customer. Getting outside your own company is another important aspect of collaboration and learning. By celebrating and encouraging community building with others in a similar role or industry, I can help my team see that we can all win together.
– Alessandra Colaci, VP of Marketing, Mailshake
Azeem Ahmad: Be more empathetic (especially amidst a pandemic)
With COVID on the rise again and more restrictions in place, a lot of companies are either moving back to fully remote or hybrid. Managers (including myself) need to be able to show empathy towards their staff because of many things, including the current situation we find ourselves in.
The best managers understand that it’s our job to help our employees to thrive, not just survive.
– Azeem Ahmad, Digital Marketing Lead, Azeem Digital
Jossie Haines: Make self-care my top priority
I’ve been setting yearly goals for about 5 years now, and previously my top goal each year was focused on work or career. This year I’m embodying the belief that to take care of others, you need to take care of yourself first.
By being authentic and only saying yes to activities that truly serve me, I can focus on my mission to retain women in tech. Instead of focusing on outcomes, I’m dedicating myself to the small consistent habits that will get me to my goal.
– Jossie Haines, VP of Software Engineering, Head of DEI, Tile
Nanda Bhikhari: Reimagine employee engagement
As managers, we often talk about the employee experience and how to enhance it to improve engagement. COVID has made this especially hard, with a lot more to consider. This year I’d like to help set the tone and lead by example when it comes to employee engagement. For me, this means actively sharing some of my own challenges, acknowledging the burnout amongst staff and not trying to put a band-aid on it. To help improve engagement, I want to listen more actively and have the staff guide leadership on what a great work environment looks like to them.
This won’t all be accomplished in a year, but taking the first steps to being open about change will help my team and me connect on a deeper level.
– Nanda Bhikhari, Leadership and Career Coach, Ama La Vida
Matija Laznik: Grow my team
This year I’d like to build a team that can execute on projects and deliver results. That means assembling a team of A-player VAs and on-site employees, probably about 2 on-site and 3 VAs (depending on specific project needs). I believe this is realistic to accomplish in the next year.
– Matija Laznik, Customer Delivery Manager, 21writers
Mike McPeak: Maintain regular check-ins about both work and job satisfaction
I recently hired my first direct report for an entry-level role, mainly to help with administrative tasks, but also develop them in various digital marketing disciplines. My goal is to maintain frequent, consistent check-ins with them to make sure they feel the tasks I’m asking them to do are helping them progress in their career path.
While I want them to be happy working here and to stay as long as they wish, I also recognize that if they’re not potentially outgrowing the role, I’m not doing my job as a manager.
– Mike McPeak, Director, Digital Marketing and Operations, Hale Trailer Brake and Wheel
🔍 Recommended resources:
Meg Murphy: Leading by example when it comes to avoiding burnout
Product Marketing is difficult, nebulous, strategic, cross-functional work. It’s equal parts frustrating and fulfilling. You have to be good with tight deadlines and projects that go sideways, conflicting inputs from teams that speak very different languages, shifting priorities, and making moves even if you don’t have all the data. That’s the gig. Layer on a pandemic and everything that comes with it and you’ve got a recipe for burnout.
Next year, I’m focusing on doing everything I can outside work to show up as my best self here — and I want my team to do the same. I’m focusing not only on building better habits day-to-day but planning time off to recharge as well.
– Meg Murphy, Manager, Product Marketing, Visual Lease
Aidan Weinrib: Listen more, talk less
Giving the floor to team members gives them space to voice their opinions. I consider myself a ‘democratic’ leader in my decision-making, but I often find myself leading conversations and giving long-winded answers.
I want ideas to come from my team, the people closest to our clients. In order to do that, I need to make sure they have the mic. I think this will also be useful for identifying when my team is struggling/lacking the appropriate info — if their answers are not accurate or complex, there is work to be done.
– Aidan Weinrib, Head of Partnerships, Wizehire
🔍 Recommended resources:
- Try a collaborative agenda to help foster two-way conversation and idea sharing in your meetings.
- What you need to know about inclusive leadership
- Hiba talks about why your direct reports should own your 1:1s:
Tom Rielly: Foster more critical and creative thinking within the team
As we leverage more data and technology, it’s ultimately up to the team to unlock the full potential. By fostering an environment where individuals are able to think critically and creatively, they can identify the main problems that artificial intelligence and machine learning are able to help address.
To encourage this, we’ll move towards building internal learning forums, regular small group brainstorming and using simulated experiences.
– Tom Rielly, Founder of Triggr
Tamara Omerovic: Support my team’s career development
Managers typically believe that their team is only as strong as they are. But actually, it’s the other way around — you’re only as good as your team is. Therefore, to make sure my team successfully grows (both professionally and personally) in 2022, I plan to work more on supporting their career development (something I didn’t have time for in 2021).
This is important to me because I believe that if you want to bring out the best in each team member, it’s vital to continually support their growth, but not only as employees, but also as people.
One effective way to do that is by having honest career development conversations. One of the ways I hope to achieve this is by asking questions such as:
• Where do you see yourself 1 year from now?
• What do you think you’d need to work on in the next year to get there?
• How can I help you to reach this goal?
As you can see from the questions, my plan is to let my team members take the lead. I’ll provide them structure and expectations, but let them define success for themselves. Instead of taking ownership of defining all goals for my team, I want to serve as a partner and coach, guide them, and discover the best way to support their goals and efforts.
– Tamara Omerovic, Traffic Team Lead, Databox
🔍 Recommended resources:
- The OKR meeting agenda for setting goals with your direct reports
- Employee development with a focus
- Brennan talks about how to set effective goals with your team:
Tyler Eugene Hakes: Be thoughtful
I think many of the challenges that come from managing people are a lack of context, understanding, or empathy. We often make assumptions, cast-off comments, etc. Especially in the always-on world of Slack, you can do a lot of damage with a knee-jerk reaction or a glib message that comes across as rude or dismissive.
So, for 2022, I want to try to remember to take a beat and be thoughtful about interactions with the team, consider their perspective, and put time and effort into crafting my words to make sure they are clear and direct.
– Tyler Eugene Hakes, Strategy Director, Optimist
Amalia Fowler: My resolution is to not have resolutions!
I’m not a big fan of singular resolutions but love a good theme. My personal theme for 2022 is Embodied Living, but my Management theme is ‘adaptability.’
Things are so uncertain right now in a myriad of ways, and placing adaptability at the forefront allows me to approach myself, my business and my team with an attitude of problem-solving and doing what is right, not necessarily what is easiest.
– Amalia Fowler, Owner, Wholehearted Manager
Hiba Amin: Give myself permission to be vulnerable
As a manager, it’s easy to feel like you need to be the rock for your team at all times. But, the pressure of always being in perfect form to support your team can do more harm than good. By hiding your vulnerabilities, you’re actually demonstrating to your team that it’s not okay to show weakness.
Even though it feels like you have to have all the answers, you don’t.
This year I’d like to put less pressure on myself to be the perfect support for my team and instead allow myself to be honest and vulnerable.
– Hiba Amin, Senior Marketing Manager, Hypercontext
Nandini Sharma: Be a better listener
I’d like to be more inquisitive. Pose questions and allow time for the person to consider and respond.
Also, pay attention to what isn’t being said while listening to the response. It’s important to me because if your employees feel valued and heard, they’ll ultimately be more productive and will be less likely to look elsewhere for opportunities.
– Nandini Sharma, Marketing Manager, ProofHub
Alison Hayter: Amplify my team members’ voices across the organization
To me, being a great manager means helping my direct reports to be great, and having their knowledge and accomplishments recognized both within our team and across the broader organization. I realize how valuable growth opportunities are and how engaging they can be for strong performers looking to sharpen their skills and try new things, so this also feeds into my goal to nurture and retain my high-performing employees.
To achieve this, I’ll be on the lookout for opportunities for my direct reports to lead meetings and present to large groups outside of our immediate team. Many of these opportunities come to me first, but wherever reasonable I’m going to pass them along to a member of my team or have them involved in some capacity.
I’ll also be aiming to speak less in general in any/all meetings I am in with my direct reports, encouraging them to guide conversations, respond to others’ questions, and state their own suggestions and opinions confidently, without first looking to me to weigh in.
– Alison Hayter, Director of Product Marketing, Loopio
Saurabh Wani: Improve communication with my team
This year I’m working completely remote, so I’d like to improve how I balance my time working with time managing.
Currently, I spend a lot of time in meetings — especially with freelancers who I manage. To minimize time spent in meetings and back and forth explaining things, I’m going to leverage more collaboration tools. Tools like Loom have been helpful, especially working with teammates in 4 different time zones. By expanding our communication to video messages rather than just meetings or email, I hope to help improve how we communicate and work together.
– Saurabh Wani, Content Marketer, Zoomshift
Foram Sheth: Don’t try to own the struggles
I lean heavily on being an empath. I want to be a helper and I don’t like to see people struggle or go through pain. Whenever I feel that a team member may be struggling (whether that’s a challenging task or they feel stuck), I immediately step in to help.
This year, I want to be better at providing space for them to work through their challenges and be mindful of my need to ‘help’ and ‘fix it.’ The story I tell myself is that if I don’t step in to help, they’ll think I’m not being a supportive leader. Instead, I need to reframe it and remind myself that if I step in to help, I’m taking away an opportunity for them to learn. This will be a great learning for me and for my team members to grow new skills.
– Foram Sheth, Co-Founder & Chief Coaching Officer, Ama La Vida
Anita Chauhan: Approach with empathy
This approach is fundamental to building trust and creating stronger,high-performing teams. I plan on allocating more time in my day and meetings to having conversations with my team members and asking them about how things are going.
I also think finding ways to include “deep noticing” where I’m able to identify how my individual team members are doing and if they need space or help. I plan on doing the same thing for myself — as I’m sure lots of leaders don’t give themselves the empathy and understanding they deserve.
These past two years have taken a toll on us all, and taking the time to remember that can help shape the experience you both have.
– Anita Chauhan, Director of Marketing, Fraction
🔍 Recommended reading for goal-setting:
- The goal-setting process: A manager’s guide to set better goals
- The goal-setting framework guide for 2021
- How to write SMART goals (with examples)
- How to write effective OKRs
- Hypercontext library of 360+ goals and OKR examples