The year is coming to a close and these last few days seem to be filled with deadlines to meet and preparations to make. This is also the time of year when many of us try to sit down to reflect on what we did this past year and what we want to accomplish next. Here is a list of five inspiring leadership ideas that we at TalentMiles will bring with us into the new year.

1. Empathy

Just a few days ago Oxford Dictionary announced “toxic” to be the word of the year 2018. Over the year, we’ve seen the word being used in many different contexts. Increasingly, it’s being used as a metaphor, to describe negative experiences in various social and political situations.

Addressing harmful relationships or negative cultures in the work place is important, but what we’ve seen happening, is also a lowering of the threshold to let personal opinions outweigh the common goal. “Not liking someone” is reason enough to not collaborate with them, and in a world dependent on collaboration, networking and co-creation, this divide between people can have far reaching consequences.

One major challenge for leaders in 2019 is figuring out how to build cohesion and understanding between people, instead of letting the polarisation widen in our communities. How do we build trust, open communication and mutual respect between people? How do we build empathy into the foundation of leadership and our organisational culture?

2. Voice

Even with all the technology available today, speaking and listening are still our best tools for communication between individuals. In meetings, in projects, in every kind of team activity, the best possible result is reached when everyone in the team gets their voice heard. Questions are often too big, stakes are too high for any one person to have all the necessary expertise, experience and knowledge. In order to reach the best result, we need to challenge each other, point out blind spots and share knowledge.

This sounds simple, yet its practical application of course isn’t always as straight forward. How do we make sure everyone in the team feels they can speak up, even with half-finished thoughts and challenging questions? Creating a culture where everyone gets their voice heard should go to the top of every leader’s priority list next year.

3. The social aspect of learning

The first two points on this list have focused strongly on building trust, cohesion and fruitful collaboration in organisations. This is good for creating results but it is just as important for learning.

We learn best together. As mentioned in the previous point, we need others to challenge us with questions, point out things we missed and share knowledge, ideas and experiences. This holds true especially in a workplace, where our learnings don’t benefit only ourselves, but also our team and the whole organization. Creating more opportunities for shared learning, co-creation and peer-to-peer feedback are therefore objectives worth keeping high on the priority list. Here at TalentMiles, we have been experimenting with new, social features in the web app to support this collaborative aspect of learning. New, exciting updates to follow on this in 2019!

4. What is enough?

“Everything seems to be moving faster nowadays”. Does this sound familiar? We hear this statement almost every day. Work, life, change – everything seems like it’s in an endless state of acceleration, demanding more from us, in shorter time. We try to meet the demands by working over, working late, doing just a bit more. But how long can this go on? When have we done “enough”?

This is a very tricky question and one that each of us have to answer ourselves. There will always be more work to do, new leads to follow – so how do we know when we are “done for the day”? Where do we draw the line and allow ourselves to feel like we have accomplished enough for one day? There is also room for letting go, learning to see when our efforts aren’t paying off. Instead of a to-do list for 2019, how about making a “stop doing -list”?

5. Being present

A fast-paced work culture and geographically distributed teams are not uncommon in any way. Many of us work in organisational structures that keep us busy on several fronts at once. We need to be available, alert and updated all the time. Emails, conference calls, messages and online meetings compete for our attention, shredding it to pieces and scattering it all over the world.

Many people seem to be suffering from a shortened attention span and a nagging feeling of never really being present. How does this eternal in-between-meetings, I’ll-just-finish-this-email, let-me-get-back-to-you rush affect the relationships we build and the conversations we have (or are trying to have)? Even with all the urgent things going on around us, it is important that we take the time to stop every once in a while, look up from our phones and really see and hear the people around us. Be an active listener, stop what you are doing and be present.