In just a few weeks we will be saying good-bye and thank you to 2018. It is the season of gratitude and celebrating the best life has to offer. Even with the flurry of  wrapping up your to-do lists in time for some much-needed rest and family time, it is valuable to reflect upon one’s own leadership.

As leadership development experts, it is important to develop capabilities in each of the following four areas: Leading Self, Leading Others, Leading the Business, and Leading Across the Organization. Use these thought-provoking questions and tips to assess your own development and learning this past year.

Leading Self:

One universal theme during the holidays relates to “light.” Applying this theme to leading self is to acknowledge that each of us brings our own authentic self to our organizations. What “light” do others see in you that compels them to want to follow?

  • What did I discover about myself this year and how?
  • Where did I show up as an authentic leader? How did I share my unique capabilities?
  • How will I ensure my beliefs match up with others’ perceptions?
  • Have I thanked those closest to me for their unfiltered feedback and support in being my best self?
  • Where can I be more accepting of my short-comings and make mild adjustments to limit the negative impact on others?

Leading Others:

Great leaders are adept at inducing desirable responses in others. They constantly provide feedback and recognition to continue to inspire greater performance. In the season of gratitude, it is a good time to reflect on their accomplishments and acknowledge the people on your team. Remember to:

  • Look for what makes each member of your team unique and special and make sure they know you see those traits
  • Acknowledge individuals for the specific ways they had a positive impact on results
  • Thank them for making the team and the company a better place to work with behavioral examples
  • Ask them how you can be a better coach in 2019? How do they want you to provide feedback so it is taken positively? What role do you need to play to support their achievement of personal and professional goals?

Leading Across the Organization:

In our complex organizations, we get things done by working across functions and contributing to broader goals. Skills for effective leadership with peers include influencing others, collaborating, gaining alignment, addressing conflict in a constructive manner, and joint problem-solving. Take the time to appreciate your co-workers and cross-functional partners. Think about the following:

  • Who successfully influenced you by making the business case and presenting evidence to sway your decision? How can you let them know they made a difference to you and the team?
  • What problem did you jointly solve with others? What lessons can you take away from this experience and bring to other company challenges?
  • Where has there been effective collaboration with co-workers? What can you commit to doing differently going forward to ensure more coordination and communication? When did you or others address conflict in a constructive manner? What lessons learned can you apply to another unfinished or unresolved conflict?
  • Why will more effective collaboration help you achieve goals next year?

Leading the Business:

As we reach year end, for many organizations that follow the calendar year, this is the time to take stock of actual results. Hopefully the organization and you personally achieved or exceeded intended goals. Even if you fell short, it’s a good time to reflect upon what can be done differently next year. Take the time to thank and appreciate your customers.

  • Where did you demonstrate Execution Excellence? What specific role did you play?
  • How did you ignite your team to take action that delivered on a key imperative?
  • Where did proactive monitoring results allow you to course correct to deliver the intended results?
  • What did you learn about yourself this year that will allow you to take it further next year?

Each year marks another opportunity along your leadership journey. As you countdown to the New Year, use the remaining time to give yourself the gift of acceptance and provide others with the gift of acknowledgement.

WLH would like to thank each of you for your ongoing support and partnership. We look forward to supporting you in 2019. We are formally launching our WLH Learning Solutions Division early next year with unique blended learning offerings related to change agility, business acumen and account management, and leadership development. Stay tuned as we continue to advance to meet your needs.

Wendy L. Heckelman, Ph.D.

Dr. Wendy Heckelman, president and founder of WLH Consulting, Inc. has over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 100 industry clients. These include pharmaceutical, biotech, health care, animal health medicines, and consumer products, as well as international non-profit organizations and growing entrepreneurial companies.

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