This is the time of year where things are either seriously slowing down, or you are in the midst of crazy as you rush towards the holiday season. No matter the environment you are in, you really should be setting some time aside to reflect on how well you performed as a leader or manager.
Taking the time to do this before you go on leave allows you the time to let ideas for improvement flow in naturally while you are taking a break. I personally find that important ideas/strategies/actions come to me when I give it time to marinate.
Reflection, true reflection, is key to your improvement. Please don’t be one of those managers that feels there is no room for improvement. We ALL have room for improvement, we all have room for growth. So, set aside an hour and get brutally honest with yourself. It’s just you, no one is there judging you, but you can’t improve if you can’t be honest.
Ask yourself the following questions and then try to work through the solutions if you don’t feel you measured up:
Did I work in a way that allows my team to feel valued and empowered?
Did I work to create a safe environment so people can be transparent and not fear speaking up?
Did I behave in a transparent manner, did I lead by example?
Did I keep my commitments?
Did I work to my values?
Did I admit my mistakes?
What are some positive lessons that I should take note of so I can re-create them in the new year?
What are some failed lessons that I should take note of so I don’t make the same mistakes in the new year?
How did I grow this year and how will I grow in the new year?
Would I want me as a leader or manager? (Don’t compare yourself “Well, I’m better than so and so.” Ask yourself the question honestly with a simple Yes or No answer.)
You may find that you can answer these easily. You may find that you can answer them but need time to work on the solution for improvement. All of that is fine and the reason why you should start working on this before you leave for the holiday break. This gives you some time to ask others for suggestions, do some research or just let it be and trust that solutions will come to you.
I would like to give you one word of caution, however. Don’t dwell in the negative. If you have made some mistakes, you are human. It does you no good to wallow in pity, focus on the solution so you can have a stellar new year.
The point of this exercise is to ensure that you close out the year with a true understanding of how you have performed and with a plan on how you will improve in the new year. Most “leaders” bumble around and assume if they still have a job, then they are doing ok. Don’t be that leader. Do some self-leadership and point yourself in the direction of continuous improvement. You can’t do that if you don’t first start with some reflection.
Be a Connected Leader.