In my quest to organize my life and home more effectively, I have tried a lot of different systems — some more successfully than others. One of my favorites is FlyLady.

FlyLady breaks home maintenance into a system of “baby steps” and daily routines; she reinforces her followers with large doses of positivity and encouragement, delivered via frequent email updates.

One of the most helpful features of FlyLady, in my experience, is her introduction of a new good habit each month. The habit is created day by day as you complete the chosen chore. By the end of thirty days, incorporating the month’s chore should be natural and easy.

As I have been thinking about the new format for LeaderTalk, focusing on one leadership quality each month, I realized that leadership development could be approached in the same way: in baby steps, by introducing new habits month by month, practicing each skill until it becomes second nature.

For January, we are focusing on this:

A leader values and engages others.

Throughout this month, I encourage you to contemplate what it means to value and engage others. As you do, consider small steps you can add to your daily routine that will reflect the important truth that those you interact with — at work, at home, in your community, face to face or through social media —are important.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

At Work:

Value and engage your employees or teammates by taking extra time to talk with them. It doesn’t have to be long. Taking even five extra minutes to talk with someone, about any topic, day after day, will help them to feel cared for and respected.

At Home:

Really pay attention to your spouse, partner, or children. What would happen if you took ten extra minutes each day, every day, to really listen?

In Your Community:

Do you talk to your neighbors beyond a quick hello? Why not take extra time to get to know those who live around you this month?

Face to Face:

Be thoughtful about crafting careful questions for your co-workers, family members, or neighbors. Consider their interests, hopes, fears, and dreams. A person will feel valued by you when you surprise them by asking a question that shows you really want to know them beyond just the surface level.

Through Social Media:

In social media, people are looking for interaction and engagement. Instead of spouting information, start conversations. Remember information about your contacts, and you will delight them when you ask about something important to them.

A leader can value and engage others easily, every day, building important connections through conversation.

I learned another principle from FlyLady. “You can do anything for ten minutes.” It applies to housework and leadership. What can you do for ten minutes? You can do anything for ten minutes. And if you do, how might it make a difference in your workplace, home, and community?

Join me today in building better leadership habits, ten minutes at a time.

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.