It’s hard to ignore the calendar. Just this morning I heard someone comment, “This year’s almost over.” Whether you say it with a sigh or a sense of expectancy, 2014 is almost in the books. The end of the year is a complicated time. Your mind is getting mixed signals. Frequently, December cranks up busyness on the personal side of life while simultaneously marking a bit of a slow down for many business sectors. No matter what your calendar looks like, don’t miss 3 unique opportunities to sharpen your leadership.
People. The holiday season brings a number of opportunities to connect with people. Thousands of definitions of leadership exist. All of them have something in common. It’s people. The quality of your leadership will be directly proportional to the quality of your relationships. Whether it is the need to say “thank you” or to bring resolution to an unsettling conflict that you have avoided, look around and assess your leadership by the most important measure.
Balance. Now is the perfect time to consider whether you life is in balance. At first it seems counterintuitive. December may seem like the worst time to think about whether you are overcommitted or stretched in too many directions. In response to those concerns, ask yourself, “When is a good time for me to consider balance?” If you are serious about viewing your leadership impact in light of the health and depth of relationships with others, you must consider how you invest your time and resources. Balance is something you determine. Balance will always bring you around to a courageous resolve to say “yes” and “no” judiciously. Knowing when and how to spend time with the most important people around you may well be the greatest determinant of your leadership effectiveness in the coming year.
Accountability. For some, year-end is a reminder that it’s time to take inventory. Inventory is not just about counting widgets. Basically, an inventory provides an accurate report of reality. December provides a natural time sensitive marker for your personal goals and expectations. It’s very likely that you have some internal alarms that are beginning to sound as you approach December 31st. As a leader, those alarms are reminders of your commitment to continued development and your belief in accountability. It’s a signal that you expect to grow each year. It’s likely that you have made commitments to yourself regarding your relationships and balance. As you look around, don’t forget to pause and listen to those alarms. Remember, effective accountability is both art and science. Accountability combines individual commitment with a culture of trust. Time sensitive goals are critical. But, your life and leadership is more than a check mark next to a goal. Look for progress beyond the surface goal. Crave constructive feedback from others. Eliminate your blind spots by developing deep trusting relationships. Solidify your credibility by maintaining focus on your most deeply treasured values. Never stop growing. Positive change is a sign of leadership vitality.