Leading — Into the Holidays – 5 Simple Tips

Leaders always lead in context. But context we forget. So, here are 5 simple reminders as our context is shorter days, dropping temperatures, and some mounting pressures.

  1. Finish strong by clarifying realistic yet stretch goals. Re-read that sentence and say out loud the most important word to you.  To me, it’s clarifying.  Clarity is the key to saying no to non-essentials. Clarity lets you focus. Clarity makes seemingly distant goals stand in strong relief.  A fundraising or sales goal. A key letter to a great client. Finishing one thing that’s been hanging for a long time.  Clarifying will make you more efficient and also help you on the 23rd (or whenever you’re lucky enough to totally log out ) to really leave it behind, knowing you did your best.  And that clarity will also help you so that you:
  2. Do not quit til it’s over. How many times have you found that at the 11th hour you could make a sale you didn’t think you could, land a charitable gift, find a fantastic present, finish a paper, or do something else important that had you quit . . . you never would have gotten done.
  3. Enjoy your work family and share your thanks. We spend a lot of time with people at work, and just like with big families, we’re closer to some than others. Yet this is a wonderful time to appreciate our universal humanity and express our gratitude.
  4. Don’t miss out on your real family. For so many of us these days, we’re all busy (even our octogenarian parents and grandparents), and we’re often physically distant. Get off the work treadmill and go find your peeps.  These holidays are not about stuff, cyber Mondays and black Fridays, and keeping the economy going.  They’re about savoring those we love. Is it just me, or do people – especially our older family members and friends — seem to pass at Christmas time. Maybe these shorter days are a reminder to share them with those we love and cherish.
  5. Plan for your own rejuvenation. There is absolutely no question that the pace of life has picked up and it has seeped into — or flooded — our persona lives, too.  Do you have to have new Christmas decorations? Do you have to buy more gifts for Hanukkah than last year? Do you have to pack your social calendar? Do you have to make New Years a big deal?  If you slow down a little, might you drink a little less, eat a little less, sleep a little more, and come back actually feeling rested?

In summary:  Clarify, work hard, hit your goals and then hit the brakes in whatever way might re-juvenate (from the Latin juvenis or youth).  It’s the season for youth and wonder, as you:

Lead with your best self!


  • Good suggestions – especially when, in academic circles, everyone is VERY tired at the end of the fall semester/quarter!

    best wishes,

    • Ain’t that the truth! After 3-1/2 years of teaching at the university level – where I am in front of a class only about 5 hours per week, I SO ADMIRE K-12 teachers who are at it every day, hour upon hour. It’s remarkable how even with good practices of meditation, sleep, physical activity, one gets tired at the end of the 15-week marathon.

  • thank you! I enjoy your thoughts and good suggestions all year!!

    Happy Holidays and good wishes!

    Elizabeth Lenhard

  • I love #5. Especially the realization that if I slow down a little I MIGHT drink a little less, eat a little less, sleep a little more, etc. Thanks, Dan. And Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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