The year is drawing to a close. And with that, many of us managers are setting our sights on business goals and strategies for 2024. But there is nothing quite as deflating and demotivating as leaving the office before the holidays, only to come back to a mountain of work from the past year to catch up on before proceeding with the new year’s goals.
To ensure your team is in top shape to embrace the New Year, here are five must-do items you need to add and check off to your to-do list so there are no loose ends before you wind down for the holidays.
1. Assess Team Performance And Set Goals
One of your critical tasks before the end of the year is to evaluate your team’s performance over the past year, both collectively and individually, and use this data to inform the goals you set for the year ahead. Look over your individual performance reviews and appraisals with your team members and review the goals that were set last year, and compare them. Assess if last year’s goals were successfully achieved, and if not, by how much?
If they seriously underperformed, it’s time to do some deep introspection and see if you observe any patterns over the past year. Applying some critical thinking, you might be able to identify the cause of low performance levels and put things in place to improve workload and workflows, streamline processes, and boost team morale.
2. Celebrate Achievements And Progress
End of year Christmas parties and celebrations leading up to the New Year make for fantastic opportunities to celebrate not only achievements and big wins, but collective progress. It’s essential to value your team’s effort, even if the goal has not been achieved as planned by the end of the year. Celebrate the lessons learned along the way, team members who have gone the extra mile to support each other, and give credit to those who have been working silently in the background to support you and your team’s operations.
But you don’t need to wait for the Christmas celebration before you acknowledge or reward your team with affirmative feedback. You can send a group email beforehand to everyone who has contributed to the collective effort and tag their names.
You could even try and make it personal and fun by inserting a goofy GIF displaying a catchy phrase such as “teamwork makes the dream work” with celebratory balloons. Don’t just send a generic “thank you for all your hard work” email; be specific and state exactly why. Share the ups and downs of the journey, reflect on what you’ve all learned along the way, and praise your team for their persistence and dedication in the face of challenges.
3. Review And Adjust Workloads
After reviewing the year, now is a perfect time to think about you and your team’s workloads and find ways to adjust them. This task should be much easier thanks to AI and the plethora of products available on the market, which help you cut excess labor and focus on what’s most important.
Prioritize seeking ways to produce the best quality work in the least possible time. This will help optimize your team’s productivity and overall wellbeing and mental health.
4. Clearly Communicate Year-End Expectations
It’s important at this time of year to clearly communicate any updated priorities and your expectations for how these need to be approached before January. This is especially essential as many of your team will likely be taking paid time off at different periods during the holidays, so there will be times when some core team members will not be available for certain aspects such as approvals, processing, or attending key meetings.
Therefore you should plan ahead for the next month and prioritize what needs to be done first before your various team members and stakeholders go on PTO. Communicate these priorities to your team so that everyone is on the same page and aware of what is expected of them before the close of the year.
5. Stay Informed On Trends For 2024
To be a dynamic manager entails you staying informed and keeping abreast of latest developments within your industry, and other dependencies that could affect the context you operate in. Consider key areas where your department will need to adapt and evolve to be ready for the changes that 2024 poses to your organization and remit of work. Study industry news and business publications, listen to podcasts, and even attend Christmas networking events for your industry so you can connect with other professionals who are aware of key developments that could impact your work, and forge valuable connections for potential partnership opportunities in the new year.
By having all of this in place, you can be confident that when you and your team resume business operations in January, your department will be in the perfect position to embrace any challenges ahead and push forward, clutter-free, towards organizational objectives for the new year.
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