Living in Virginia, I relish the colors of fall and the beginning of winter. I love the temperature change, walking outside, smelling the fresh, crisp air, and watching the leaves change. I smile with joy and gratitude to live in such a beautiful place.
Then, as the temperature changes, the nights get longer, and the days are slightly more relaxed. I feel winter coming. Winter, for me, is a time of regeneration. It is a time to slow down, reflect, sleep a little longer, and rebuild inner strength and resilience.
As trees go dormant and deepen their roots, we, too, can become more grounded, deepen our roots, strengthen ourselves, and prepare for new growth. As we slow down and reflect, we also can become more present in the moment. We can become better leaders and stewards by becoming more present and in the moment.
The December holiday season is often marked by joy, giving, and unity. The December holidays offer an excellent opportunity to reflect, explore, and deepen the principles of leadership and teamwork. Amid the festive cheer and gatherings, valuable lessons can be learned and applied in our personal lives and professional environments.
The Seven Team and Leadership Gifts
1. The Essence of Shared Goals - The Holiday Spirit
The air is thick during the holidays, with a sense of shared gratitude and giving. We often think of those less fortunate and look to help somehow. Families come together to celebrate, communities engage in festive activities, and people in the workplace often wind down with some celebration and share a sense of collective accomplishment. The sharing of achievement mirrors the fundamental aspect of teamwork – a team of people supporting each other to accomplish a shared goal. Great leaders recognize the importance of aligning team members towards a common objective, much like the unspoken understanding we share during the holiday season to spread joy and kindness. How can you and your team share the joy of shared accomplishment?
2. Diversity and Inclusivity - The Holiday Lesson
The December holidays are celebrated worldwide in various forms, from Christmas to Hanukkah, Ashura to Yom Kippur, the Winter Solstice, and Kwanzaa to New Year's Eve. This diversity is a reminder of the strength that lies in inclusivity. Influential leaders and teams embrace diversity in thoughts, backgrounds, and perspectives. Just as every tradition brings its unique flavor to the holiday season, diverse teams can produce more innovative and comprehensive solutions. Ask yourself, in what ways did you and your team embrace and strengthen diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?
3. The Gift of Giving - Leadership by Example
Gift-giving is synonymous with the December holidays. It's a simple act that speaks volumes about selflessness and thoughtfulness – imperative leadership qualities. Leaders can demonstrate their commitment to their team's well-being and success by giving. Similarly, team members can show appreciation and respect for each other, fostering a supportive and collaborative environment. It is a good exercise for everyone on a team to give the gift of positive feedback. If you had to share one unique piece of positive feedback with every team member, what did each person on your team do that helped to build a stronger, more cohesive team?
4. The Carol of Teamwork
Holiday cards and stories unite people, showcasing the power of effective communication. Many families share pictures of their events of the year, their children's growth, and their travels. In a team, it is vital to share that same journey by looking at the entire year and all that has been accomplished together. Clear and open communication is essential for success, and celebrating the team's history is a foundation for growth. Leaders must clearly articulate their vision and expectations, and team members should feel comfortable sharing ideas and concerns. This open dialogue paves the way for mutual understanding and efficient collaboration. If you were sending a holiday card from your team, what pictures would you add, and what would you share?
5. Adaptability and Resilience - The Winter's Tale
The winter season can be cold, sometimes harsh, and unpredictable. The winter season teaches us adaptability and resilience. These qualities are crucial in both leadership and teamwork. Leaders must be able to steer their teams through unexpected challenges, much like navigating a winter storm. On their part, team members need to be resilient and adaptable, ready to adjust strategies and roles as necessary. How can you build more resilience? How can you become more adaptable to the changing seasons?
6. Reflection and Gratitude - The Heart of the Season
As the year draws to a close, the holiday season offers a natural time for reflection. Good leaders take this time to acknowledge achievements, learn from setbacks, and express gratitude to their team members. This reflection is about looking back and setting the stage for future growth and success. As you reflect on 2023, what can you be proud of? Is there anything you would change?
7. Celebration and Recognition - The Joy of Team Success
Finally, the joy and celebration that characterize the December holidays are a reminder of the importance of recognizing and celebrating team successes. Leaders should seize opportunities to mark milestones, no matter how small. This recognition boosts morale and motivates team members, reinforcing a sense of unity and shared success. What was your major milestone this year, and what does that have meaning for you personally and professionally?
Conclusion: A Season for Leadership and Teamwork
The December holiday season, with its unique blend of joy, diversity, and tradition, offers rich lessons in leadership and teamwork. By embracing these lessons, leaders can build stronger, more cohesive teams that are successful and reflective of the holiday spirit of unity, generosity, and joy. This season, let us all take a moment to appreciate the value of good leadership and effective teamwork and carry these lessons forward into the new year and beyond.