The only constant in life is change. It’s a quote we’ve all heard, but as we get past the hustle and bustle of the holidays and start a new year, it hits especially close to home.

Leaders today face an increasingly “VUCA” (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world. You’re navigating a multigenerational workforce, virtual team environments, hybrid office work, and a talent shortage—all of which is forcing us to rethink what it even means to be a great and effective leader.

For most of us, our motivation still lies in building a high-performing team—but what do you need to cultivate in yourself to reach that objective?

As we kick off another new year, I encourage you to take a pause and reflect on how you can adapt your leadership style to inspire and develop your employees. Here are some tips to get started.

Related: How to Prepare Your Business for Success in 2024 and Beyond

Know Yourself

How well do you really know yourself? Research shows that while most executives consider themselves to be self-aware, a much smaller percentage truly are.

Self-awareness is cultivated in many ways, and the journey to deepening your self-awareness and ultimately your self-actualization never ends. You can use tools like the Predictive Index or Hogan Assessments to shed light on your behavioral tendencies and deep dive into personality and psychological assessments. But they only tell half the story.

To stay—or become—self-aware, leaders require even more proactive, thoughtful feedback from their peers, direct reports, board members, and other stakeholders. Commit to periodic exercises to solicit this feedback, which will not only deepen your understanding of how you impact others but will also send a message to your employees that you are always in a mode of self-development and self-improvement.

Create a Safe Environment

The term psychological safety is used a lot these days, but what exactly does it mean? Fundamentally, psychological safety is about creating a space absence of judgement—one in which:

  • Ideas are shared freely without consequence or punishment
  • Team members are encouraged to speak up and speak their mind respectfully
  • Honor each other’s different perspectives and resist conformity
  • Healthy conflict can occur and lead to a more trusting relationship

The key here is the difference between judgement and discernment. Judgement is emotionally charged, polarizing, and shuts down learning. Think of phrases like “I can’t believe you did…” or “you always…”

Discernment, on the other hand, is about leveraging your natural curiosity and ability to acknowledge what is without placing blame, guilt, or judgement. Using phrases like “I noticed that…,” “I observed…,” or “I saw that…” are far more effective, inclusive, and conducive to providing a supportive environment where employees can learn and grow.

What’s important is a leader’s ability to channel their inner wisdom to drive open and exploratory discussions around problems that arise. We still address challenges but do so in a supportive and results-oriented way.

Develop a Common Purpose

Every great team has a purpose. In sports, it can be the Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, or Olympics. In work, that end goal may be less clear. If you are leading the accounting team, is your purpose to simply exist, or do you have a “Super Bowl”-like quest that everyone is aligned to?

As leaders, you are meaning makers. Your job is to inspire your team, and the best way to do so is to align around a common purpose. But what does a common purpose look like?

It must have three elements:

  1. It needs to inspire.
  2. It needs to be achievable.
  3. It needs to be something all team members’ contributions can align to.

Common purpose, based on these tenets, gives your team a rallying cry and something to unite around. When things get challenging or convoluted, this common purpose can be your north star.

Related: Designing Successful High-Performing Teams

Build Healthy Habits

It is time that leaders view themselves as the elite athletes of the business world that they are. To perform at sustainably high levels in an uncertain environment, leaders need to build and model the healthy habits that lead to long-term performance.

I grew up in the Michael Jordan era of the Chicago Bulls, and if the two three-peats taught me anything, it is that elite performance requires consistency. Here are some healthy habits all leaders should prioritize going into 2024:

  • Sleep: Ensure you are getting proper rest. Your recovery from your day matters, and if you are shortchanging your sleep, you are more likely to erode the self-regulation needed to navigate a stressful environment.
  • Gratitude: Exercise gratitude daily. This could be as simple as looking at your calendar and finding one thing in your upcoming day that you are grateful for or excited about. You are in control of your mindset, and it’s your responsibility to seek inspiration daily.
  • Move: We over rely on our minds at work and often forget about the mind-body connection. Make sure you are connected to your body and do things that make you feel strong, healthy, and mobile. Find a movement that you can commit to daily that sparks joy and leaves you feeling good. Bonus points if you do this early in the day to help aid self-regulation.
  • Delegate: If we’ve learned anything about effective leadership, we know that the highest performing teams push decision making as far down the ranks as possible. By delegating, you can empower your employees with the ability to positively impact outcomes.
  • Rituals: One thing mourned by many work-from-home and hybrid leaders is the daily commute. Build transition rituals at the beginning and end of your day so that you can effectively switch from your work to home. This could mean taking a walk around the block after finishing work or listening to a favorite song. Whatever it is, give yourself the 2 to 3 minutes you need to disconnect from your work and step fully into your home life.


Effective, inspired leadership remains one the fundamental building blocks to a great organizational culture. A good leader cares about and brings out the best in their employees through coaching, mentoring, and listening. Strong leadership and successful corporate cultures help organizations thrive and stand out over their competition.

If you’re not sure where to start the growth and development process, consider investing in coaching services. Help from a dedicated coach can enhance a leader’s performance and assist in building stronger teams.

This blog was written by TalentRise’s Leadership Coach Kristen Lampert.