New Year. Take Charge.

You might have noticed that the gym was a little less crowded this morning. It’s only 16 days into the new year and most well-intended resolutions have already faded. Of course they have—you can’t change an ingrained habit with just a few days of willpower.
There are few emotions that can match the awful feeling of powerlessness: the realization that nothing will change, that no matter what you do, things will remain the same. As you read this, think back to the times you’ve felt that way, especially if you’ve been in a leadership position where you are responsible for results. Whether you’re a sports coach, an entrepreneur, a division manager, a teacher or a CEO, you’re likely charged with getting those results through others. In this role, you must know how to influence. You must be confident that you can get your team to embrace your ideas and your strategies and make progress together. Initiating action and creating change falls on your shoulders.
So, why do teams fail? Why are managers ineffective? Why do things remain the same? Why does powerlessness prevail?
Consider this:
• People fail because they have no context. They have no real understanding of the situation they are in and therefore have no motivation or sense of urgency to change.
• People fail because they take the incorrect approach. They’ve developed bad habits, see no reason to change, and are content to continue on that path because it feels easier than doing something different.
• People fail because they’ve never been introduced to the correct approach. They’ve never seen it done correctly, and therefore have no paradigm of the right technique.
• People fail because they haven’t practiced enough. They’ve never invested the time and energy to develop the necessary skills to succeed.
• People fail because they’ve never had good coaching. Without proper guidance, feedback, direction, instruction and accountability, most people can’t find their own way to success.
• People fail because they never develop competence.
Effective leaders initiate action. Instead of allowing hopelessness and powerlessness to creep into your belief system, take action. Exert your influence to change your condition, and become the leader everyone wants to follow. Relish the confidence you’ll have to know that you can organize and influence change within your team in order to achieve the results you want. This can make you one of the most valuable, dependable, desirable resources in your organization.
But the first decision, the first step, belongs to you. You must decide to take action.
Make no mistake: asking—or expecting—adults to change their long-developed behaviors and habits can be a monumental task. These dearly held habits may have become foundational to someone who believes they can’t do without them. Old ways will not disappear without effort and commitment. Adults have a very difficult time with change. It’s not so much that we don’t like change; it’s actually more likely that we fear change.
So, if we’re asking others to change, it is incumbent on us—the leader—to be the first one to do so. You will lead the effort in change.

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