A Year-end Checklist That Will Make You a Much Better Leader

As with everything in life, if you want to improve you need to see where you are and where you want to go. To succeed (or stay successful) in leadership, you need to see what you did this past year and where you want to go in the new year.

On the other hand, the best leaders know that progress isn’t something you check in on once a year. Progress and success can be achieved only through continuous improvements.

Effective leadership can be mastered, and a leadership checklist is an effective tool for making it happen. A solid year-end checkup will make you a better leader—today, tomorrow, and every day of the year.

Here’s my checklist. Try it out and see how you score:

Did you lead with character? Is what you said the same as what you did? Describing you as a leader, will people cite your character?

Did you create a compelling vision? Were you able to translate your personal goals into a compelling vision that people can rally around?

Did you identify next steps?  Did you articulate goals, roles and responsibilities so everyone could be successful in their own right?

Did you think strategically? Did you set forth a pragmatic strategy for achieving both short- and long-term goals?

Did you act decisively? True leadership is about making good and timely decisions and ensuring they are executed. Have you done that? If yes, great! If not, why not? What will you do differently?

Did you build others up? Did you build confidence in others?

Did you communicate effectively? Did you communicate persuasively, concisely and memorably?

Did you listen before you spoke? Did you listen to people until they felt heard? Did you listen with the intent to learn?

Did you encourage feedback from others? Did you listen to feedback and adapt in response?

Did you cultivate leadership in others? have you spent time developing leadership throughout the organization? If not, why not? And how will you begin?

Did you lead with positivity? If you aren’t leading with positivity, you’re likely leading with negativity, and it has to change for you to become an effective leader.

Did you take ownership? Always be responsible for what you do as a leader. If not, people come to feel they cannot count on you.

Did you manage relationships? Personal relationships are at the core of great leadership.

Did you lead with inspiration? Did you create an environment in which others feel inspired and motivated, secure in their capabilities and competence, ready for new challenges and successes?

Did you cultivate a culture of respect? Did you treat people respectfully?

Did you navigate or fix? Did you get out of the way and allow people to show you what they’re capable of? Or did you do the work for them?

Did you value the unique contributions of others? Did you value the gifts that each individual brings by recognizing and appreciating their individual efforts and work?

Did you lead by example? As a leader, did you set an example others would want to emulate?

This year-end checklist is really a year-round checklist—it works as a daily, weekly, monthly and annual self-evaluation. Make adaptations to suit your particular situation, then use it to hold yourself accountable for who you are and what you do to become the kind of leader you want to be.

Lead from within: Use a checklist to become a better leader, for yourself and for those you lead. It will help you and your team become more effective and successful.


N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: iStock Photo

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Njonjo

    26. Nov, 2018

    Hi Lolly,

    This is an extremely precious message. I know I haven’t done all, but am growing towards it. As a school leader, I appreciate your timely leadership messages.

    Kind regards,

    Reply to this comment
  2. Chris

    07. Dec, 2018

    Good morning Holly I just read your year end check list and it is so profound and practical. I will be implementing this into my everyday life. Thanks you so much

    Reply to this comment

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