“It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready.” - Poet Sarah Kay
Time has a funny way of sneaking up on us, doesn’t it? You’re moving along through the year, working with your team, having the hard conversations and making bold moves. Then all of the sudden - BAM! - this year’s over.
As a leader, you have to look ahead. You have to ask yourself where are we going next and how your choices can make bigger impacts going forward. And the good news is with every end comes many chances for new beginnings.
Before you launch into next year, we invite you to stop and catch your breath. Reflecting on how this year’s efforts got you to where you are right now can make next year even better.
Take a deep breath in. Breathe out.
Now that you’re relaxed and ready, here are three ways you can reflect on this year’s success before moving into the new beginning 2019 offers.
Ask yourself, “What am I proud of this year?”
Take some personal time to reflect on what you are proud of achieving this year. Write down all your accomplishments - no matter the size - and soak up some gratitude for yourself. As you inventory your successes, it can help to ask yourself what you did that made success possible - including growing and enabling others.
It’s easy to move past one set of results and focus on the next without acknowledging what you and others have done to make a difference. Many leaders simply move on to the next important thing. Yet by being aware of what and how you and others have succeeded, you set the example for other people to likewise reflect and improve on their own successes.
2. Ponder how you, as a leader, have grown or changed
Every day is a chance to improve ourselves. What are you doing this year that you hadn’t done previously? What are the biggest lessons you learned about yourself and your team? Do you have a new awareness of your leadership style? Are you appreciating your partners and co-workers enough? Is that new marketing system finally bringing you the prospects your business most needs?
Make a list of your “opportunities for improvement” from this year, and note where you’re positively different, and where you might still benefit from some work. Leaders who care about long-term success understand that setting goals for themselves and investing time and resources to shape their own leadership pays immediate and long-term dividends to themselves, their team, and their business.
3. Send simple and impactful thanks.
We believe great accomplishments require great teams. Leaders rarely get where they are going just through solo efforts. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen yellowed notes of thanks emerge from wallets of people years after their leader took time to thank them for their specific and helpful actions.
Send a thank you note to each of your team members, spelling out how they contributed to this year’s successes, before the year is over. Make sure managers are sharing their gratitude with their team members. Shoot off a quick, “Here’s how your efforts made a difference” email to vendors and trusted partners.
While this takes some time, specific thank yous can build a broader sense of community for those working with you to make that positive dent in the universe. Everyone appreciates being appreciated - and as a leader, your words of gratitude and appreciation can make a big difference motivating others for the year ahead.
We’re sure you’ve done a fabulous job leading your team members to personal and professional success this year. If you would like to up your game - or that of your team - in 2019, let’s talk about the possibilities and what support might assist you in getting there.