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To Meet Leadership Goals in 2019, Reflect on 2018

By Deborah Lynn Blumberg | Jan 2, 2019

Before looking ahead to 2019, it's important to set some time aside to reflect back on your leadership goals and the progress the union has made this past year. Celebrating successes and recognizing missteps can help identify which strategies worked, why certain plans were — or weren't — successful and where you can improve in the new year.

Here are some tips for making sure you enter the new year prepared to overcome any obstacles and reach its goals.

 Ask the Right Questions

 Self-reflection is most useful when you know which areas to focus on beforehand. Draw up a list of questions to answer before settling down with your thoughts. Some good questions include:

  • What have you accomplished for your union this year?
  • Where did you fall short?
  •  Did you help move the organization forward? Why or why not?
  •  Did you help others grow?
  •  Which initiatives and plans received the best feedback?

And don't forget that self-reflection can include other people, too. Ask yourself: Who helped the union find success this year? You can use this time to strengthen relationships, both within the union and beyond it. Create a plan to support engaged union members and express gratitude to anyone in the community who partnered with your organization — they might be key to managing successful plans and programs in the future.

Assess Your Goals

Take a look at your 2018 goals before coming up with new ones for 2019. Did you accomplish what you set out to? If not, what held you back? Read through the minutes from your meetings and last year's newsletters to review the key issues and milestones. If the union didn't achieve as much as it could have, avoid getting bogged down in the negatives. Be intentional in remembering all the progress that you made possible.

Also consider asking your peers and a few union members you've worked closely with to give you constructive criticism. What did they see as your strengths and weaknesses?

For areas where you fell short, write or talk about those experiences rather than just mulling them over in your mind. Not only does this provide a means of keeping you accountable for your goals, but it forces you to package them in a way that can be communicated, which can help the board work together to achieve them.

Plan for the New Year

Once you've reflected on the past year, use what you've learned to plan for the months ahead. Collect resources for yourself in case you come up against obstacles to reaching your leadership goals. These could be alternative strategies, a calendar for scheduling and tracking your progress or books on any obstacles — time management, interpersonal conflict or health illiteracy — that you think are likely to arise.

As 2018 draws to a close, reflecting on the year before planning for 2019 will help you to become a more effective leader. Head into 2019 energized to grow and prepared to improve your union for all its members.


With 15 years' experience writing for publications including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, The Christian Science Monitor and Newsday—Deborah Blumberg specializes in business and finance and health and wellness. She writes about topics including corporate communications, financial markets, real estate, renewable energy, cancer, health education, nutrition, supplements, the microbiome and functional medicine. She was a Knight Center fellow and a Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism fellow. Her time working in marketing and communications at JPMorgan Chase taught her how to best tell a company's story. She's adept at turning complex ideas into compelling copy. She's also an officer of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) and a Women in the Visual and Literary Arts board member, and she is fluent in Spanish.