Thursday, December 18, 2014

Time to Celebrate Accomplishments: The Year-End Leadership Message

The holiday season and the end of the year have arrived.  Leaders should take this opportunity to reflect back on the work that their organizations have done over the past twelve months.  What were the significant accomplishments?  What key goals were achieved?  What lessons did the organization learn, perhaps even from some failures that took place?   What will be the key priorities in the year ahead?   Each leader should take the time to answer these questions in a thoughtful letter to the members of their organization, or perhaps in a brief recorded video.   Such a message helps celebrate the accomplishments, and it offers the opportunity to share the credit for the success of the past year.  Moreover, leaders can recognize key individuals or teams publicly.   People want to be recognized for their efforts, and simply paying bonuses for good work does not buy employee engagement.  Public praise and recognition goes a long way.   The message also offers an opportunity to show that the leaders of the organization are reflecting on lessons learned, and it provides the forum to encourage all employees to learn from their successes and failures of the past year.  Finally, leaders have a chance to build alignment, to get everyone on the same page regarding the goals and objectives for the year ahead.   How should the leader close such a message?  Yes, you want to thank everyone for their hard work and wish them a happy holiday season.  However, leaders also should take the time to ask for feedback and input.  They should encourage employees to send them questions or comments in response to this year-end message.   Leaders need to make this communication a two-way street, not a one-way broadcast.  That final step will further enhance employee engagement, and it might yield some terrific ideas on how to improve the organization. 

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