10 Things Every Great Leader Will Do Before Year-End

It’s practically here…the time of year where we all drift blissfully (or stressfully) into holiday mode. Your out of office may not officially be on yet, but your mind is likely on overload with travel plans, holiday parties, an ever-growing list of gifts to buy, or maybe just catching up on some much needed sleep!

Before you turn off those office lights and start decking the halls and binge drinking eggnog, 2018 deserves a bit more focus - and so do you! A good leader will close out the year with these ten tasks.


  1. Assess your results. Most of us start each year full of optimism and big plans, but did you achieve the goals you set at the start of the year?  Was this the year you were absolutely convinced was going to be the breakout year for you and your team?  You’ve likely won a few and lost a few throughout the year, but make sure you have a good perspective on your accomplishments and are able to manage the narrative around your wins, draws and losses for you and your team.
  2. Monetize your value.  Money talks. Review your scorecards and quantify the value you brought to the organization this year.  Maybe you had an amazing year generating revenue, or perhaps you were a process improvement guru reducing operating costs at every turn.  Make sure you can put a number on your bottom line. Whether it’s revenue or cost avoidance, if you can count it – it counts.
  3. Update your profile and resume.  A lot can happen in a year, so make sure your story is up to date. Add new skills, modify the language to reflect the latest and greatest buzz words, and make sure your HR profile and external profiles are all shiny and ready for the New Year. This way you’re prepared for any opportunities that 2019 may bring.
  4. Do some compensation research.  Now that you’ve assessed your goal attainment, monetized your value and updated your profile; it’s a good time to check a few independent sources to see where you stand in terms of income and total compensation levels.  It’s always nice to have that data in your back pocket when you start having compensation discussions.
  5. Identify a knowledge gap. Continuous learning is a requirement for growth on both a personal and professional level. Be honest with yourself about goals you missed or put on the back-burner this year, and pick an area to focus on.  Build a gradual learning plan that incorporates instruction, practice and ideally a mentor.
  6. Give your network some love.   After working all day, the last thing most of us want to do is to pick up a phone and call someone (do people still actually use phones for this anyway?). Unless you are someone with a long solo commute, chances are high that you have a list of people you have been meaning to connect with but haven’t. Relationships are a key component to our career success but also to our emotional well-being, so now is the time! Reach out to those people you’ve been neglecting, spread some holiday cheer and make plans to connect again in January.
  7. Take a look in the mirror. Before you’ve had too much holiday cheer, take some time to reflect on who you are as a leader.  During both good and stressful times; have your character, vision, strategy and personal accountability stood the test? If the answer is No, get clear on when and why your leadership values wavered and build a plan to watch out for the warning signs so you can do better next year.  
  8. Take care of your top performers.  No one achieves success alone, so make sure these employees know how much they are appreciated, and how personally invested you are in their future. Recommit to remove any obstacles and roadblocks that may come up in the year ahead.
  9. Help someone.  In this season of giving, slow down and help someone, expecting nothing in return.  Choose someone who isn’t in your chain and mentor them on a challenge they may have been struggling with this year.
  10. Find your ‘one thing’. Find one thing that scares you and make a commitment to face that fear head-on in the coming year. It doesn’t matter if it’s a personal or professional goal. When you master something that makes you uncomfortable, your entire life becomes more enriched.  


No matter what 2018 brought you, each New Year brings an opportunity for a new beginning. Before launching into 2019, make sure you finish this year strong and determine what is most important in order for you to be at your best in the year ahead.


Transformational Leadership
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