Dec 19 Reflect on Success: Your annual leadership growth review
As the year draws to a close, leaders in large organizations find themselves at a crucial time for reflection and evaluation. Reviewing the past year is about more than just scrutinizing financial reports, performance metrics, or market trends. This is your chance to analyze personal and professional growth, acknowledge shortcomings, and celebrate victories. Take time to measure your success against your full capability to achieve your greatest potential. Just as we are advised to visit our doctor for an annual checkup, we each need to check the health of our leadership DNA regularly – and this is the ideal time for that. Every ending is a new beginning. As we step across the threshold into 2024, now is the time to make sure the doors of opportunity are opened wide.
Recognize Personal and Professional Growth
Leadership is an ongoing journey of personal and professional development from year to year. Schedule time to reflect on 2023 challenges you’ve overcome, lessons you learned, and your journey of self-discovery. Taking stock of your ongoing development is crucial and insightful. Not only does it help you hone your leadership capabilities but it also helps you to measure personal satisfaction with your career and your life.
Here are some annual year-end prompts I recently shared with coaching clients to aid them in this exercise:
- Which new skills have you acquired this year?
- In what ways did you stretch, grow, and evolve as a leader?
- What were the most significant challenges, and how did you navigate them?
By acknowledging the phases of personal growth, leaders gain insights into their evolving leadership style. That provides the foundation for continued improvement and sustainable growth.
Celebrate Team Achievements
In the realm of leadership, success is a collaborative effort deserving of collaborative celebration. Leaders are not solitary figures but rather conductors, orchestrating a team toward a shared vision. Therefore, a year-end review process should include a meticulous examination and public acknowledgement of team achievements.
Recognizing and commemorating these victories is not just a morale booster; it’s a declaration that your team members are valued and vital contributors to larger organizational goals. Assess team accomplishments against those organizational and business unit objectives, to emphasize your team’s positive impact on the overall mission. That gives each person a sense of shared pride and motivates them toward greater productivity and success – while it nurtures and strengthens corporate DNA.
Your Individual Success Yardstick
While external metrics such as financial performance and market share are critical, leaders must also establish and evaluate success against their own set of metrics. These personalized benchmarks may include leadership effectiveness, employee engagement, innovation, or other factors aligned with your leadership vision and values.
Here are a few questions to help set and measure your metrics:
- What are my top 5 personal leadership standards and principles and did I adhere to them?
- How do I foster a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, and how well did I perform in that area?
- In what specific ways do I make significant positive contributions to employee satisfaction and well-being – and how did I measure up this year?
Dig deep for candid, honest answers because they will give you a deeper understanding of your impact beyond the bottom line. That cultivates leadership self-awareness and allows for course corrections and refinement of executive vision and strategy.
Relish the Journey
The fast-paced nature of large organizations often leads leaders to focus solely on the next quarter, goal, and milestone. But a fulfilling life is about the journey, not just the destination. Year-end reflection provides clarity and perspective regarding your year of learning through day-to-day experience and the hurdles you’ve overcome along the way. Owning your leadership journey instills a deserved sense of accomplishment. Acknowledging your challenges and triumphs – both large and small – bolsters resilience and enhances your gravitas and decisiveness to navigate the year ahead.
Setting the Stage for Future Success
A comprehensive review of the past year serves as more than a reflection; it’s a strategic step toward future success. By understanding personal and professional growth, celebrating team achievements, and measuring success against personal metrics, leaders are better positioned to set informed goals for the upcoming year. That sets the stage for a more focused, resilient, and purposeful leadership journey, benefiting both the leader and the organization as a whole.
A good practice is to jot down notes you can refer to during the coming months, to reaffirm your leadership confidence.
- What were the year’s most worrisome difficulties?
- How did you face, solve, or bounce back from them?
- What were your top 4 crowning achievements?
- What are 3 enlightening realizations you gained?
Doing this simple exercise can chart your growth to remind you of just how far you’ve come in the past year.
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Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Deloitte, McKesson, Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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