The year 2014 is here!  Many of us resolve this time each year to make positive changes in both our personal and professional lives.  Yet studies show that 50% of us will break one, if not all, of our goals by mid-January.

Leaders beware.  If you among those who propose sweeping organizational changes that you don’t follow through with, you are in danger of creating lasting damage.  Trust erodes.  Employee engagement drops.  Integrity weakens.  In order to make real and lasting change, it’s better to concentrate on smaller resolutions instead of programs that fizzle and die.  Small changes create big results.

This year, I suggest that you make small workplace resolutions.  These are things you can do to show your employees that they are valued members of your team.  Here are 4 simple recommendations that will produce positive results:

1.  Resolve to spend at least 15 minutes each day simply listening to what your employees have to say.  Leaders spend so much time telling, that it is easy to forget the value of listening. Listen with your ears, your eyes, and your heart.  With daily practice, you’ll begin to find out what matters most to your employees.  Great leaders are great listeners.

2.  Resolve to connect employees’ daily contributions to the organization’s strategic objectives.  Many employees see no connection between the work that they do and the goals of the organization. As a leader, it is vital that you connect the dots between what the employee does and what the organization is trying to achieve.  In my post, A Pharaoh Walks Into a Bar, I discuss how to break it down.

3.  Resolve to offer more praise than corrective feedback.  Being negative comes naturally.  But, according to this Galllup Business Journal article, “Recognition is a short-term need that has to be satisfied on an ongoing basis – weekly, maybe daily.”  Every time we praise, it creates a burst of dopamine or internal reward system that makes employees want to repeat the behavior that was positively recognized.

4.  Resolve to greet every employee you encounter, making eye contact and smiling, no matter how rushed you feel.  Does this sound too simple to be effective? Remember that employees want to be recognized and at its most basic that means seeing and acknowledging each person. This takes virtually no time, but if you get into the habit of doing it, it can improve the spirit of the entire organization.

Each of these four resolutions takes very little time out of your day. Find the time and take the time.  These minor changes will have enormous impact on employee attitude and productivity.

Question: Which of these resolutions resonate with you the strongest?  Why not implement that one today?

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