New Year's Resolution 2015: Be the Boss You Wish Your Boss Would Be

Gandhi image on 100 rupies indian banknote
GettyCareer lessons from the teachings of Gandhi? Believe it.

It's that time of year again. New Year's Day is a time of maximum hope and optimism. It's a day when such hope and optimism grant us permission to admit that all is not right in our world--frequently because we're not doing things the way we aspire to do them. Ergo, the New Year's resolution: the vow that we can achieve what we imagine we can and should achieve.

New Year's resolutions are the best intentions that pave the road to hell. The one-in-a-thousand New Year's resolution that you or I might keep is cause for celebration, mostly because we actually pulled it off--but even more so because we changed a fundamental part of our character, something inherent to us, something that once made us comfortable, even in a bizarre way.New Year's resolutions are usually attempts to change deeply-rooted behaviors or thinking patterns or to alter behavior patterns that are part of our essential natures as individuals. That's why New Year's resolutions are so tough to keep. They move us out of our sacred comfort zones.

I mean, do the math. We never do anything for no reason whatsoever. Therefore, our new New Year's resolution behavior means moving away from something familiar, comfortable, or natural. It means moving toward something that is unnatural for us and makes us feel uncomfortable. It's our belief that the new way of being that will result from actually pulling off a New Year's resolution will please us much more than whatever perk we get from the old behavior that keeps us trying.

What keeps New Year's resolutions tanking is our denial that we like what the old behavior is doing for us more than the result of the new behavior. My personal bottom line: I hate being overweight. But I hate the idea of exercising more. I love looking slim and fit. But I love eating more.

For 2015, why not swing for the fences and try to totally reverse the dodgy relationship you have with your boss? How's that for exiting your comfort zone? Borrow a page from Gandhi and actually do the things that you wish your boss would do for you. The formula is actually very simple. You learned this stuff in kindergarten:

Stop. Put on the brakes and come to a halt. No typing. No texting. Hands flat on the desk. Better yet, hands in your lap. Take deep breaths. Do nothing for the next sixty seconds except...

Look. Make eye contact with the person to whom you should be giving your undivided attention--if only for sixty seconds. You can blink, but don't look away. There will be a quiz and you'll need to recall his or her eye color.

Listen. Hear what is on the other person's mind. Nod you head. Don't judge. Just nod your head. Let the person know that you heard what he or she said.

If you add these things, and only these things, to your existing interpersonal relationship repertoire in 2015, you will be a transformed person, and so will your boss. Just when you think this goodness is going to make you barf, stop, look, and listen to all the people who report to you and/or work in your span of control. They're the ones standing in motionless disbelief and staring at you with glazed-over eyes and gaping mouths, because you have just become awesome.

Thanks, Mahatma.
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