leadership lessons from 2022Year-end is often seen as a time for reflection, and I support that tendency. Today, I want to help guide your reflection by sharing some reflections of my own about what leaders may have learned and perhaps still can from the trends and events of the last 12 months. Consider these leadership lessons from 2022 as a starting point for your own reflections in the coming days.

A Little Less Talk (and a Lot More Action)

As 2022 began, I listed some leadership imperatives for the year. As I look back at the list, they were imperatives and there was plenty of talk about them. Yet in many organizations, those are still the talking points as the year comes to a close. I could have made this entire article about those six imperatives.  I’ll leave you to reflect on them as I share some other ideas with you.  My biggest concern with these is that many are only talking, and not acting in these important areas. What are you doing?

The Need for Greater Intention

With a long list of tasks, it is easy to get into a routine of what to work on or focus on. If that routine is driven by the urgent or the “squeaky wheel” things will be missed.  2022 taught us that as leaders we must be more intentional. What is important might not always be seen or noticed immediately. Trends like quiet quitting and the ongoing Great Resignation are two big examples here.  Leaders who reacted to these events on their teams and in their organizations were too late.  When we are intentionally thinking about and acting on important needs, rather than working solely in the world of urgent we are leading far more effectively.  That has never been truer than today. How intentional are you?

The Importance of Relationships

If you have a hybrid or remote team, a clear place for greater intentionality is in how you interact with your team.  There are certainly many leaders with face-to-face teams that would be served with better relationships.  But it is clearly easier to build relationships when we are in the same physical space.  Leaders must focus on and build stronger working relationships when people can’t be seen regularly.

Beyond those relationships themselves, leaders who focus here are modelling a valuable behavior for the team. Building and maintaining strong working relationships across the team and beyond is a source of improved culture, productivity and retention – all factors that organizations are striving for today. How much time are you investing in your relationships?

The Ubiquity of Change

Leaders who are waiting for a breather – a time when there is less change coming at them – might need to take another look.  The forces driving organizational change are coming from every direction, and leaders must get better at navigating it themselves, and helping their teams as well.  The skills needed here include helping people sort through the noise, prioritize the most important changes, and allowing the team to be more involved in the change itself rather than trying to shield them from it. How effectively are you leading change?

I’ve taken a step back to give you some things to consider – but the bigger point of this article is for you to do that reflection yourself.  Use these ideas as a starting point but take some time to think about what you have learned from 2022.  Doing that will help you lead more effectively in 2023.


For all the uncertainty around us, one thing is clear: leadership skills are more important than ever. But in a changing world, what is changing about the needs of leaders? Join me January 4 as I unpack what leaders must know in 2023. I will share my latest insights and how organizations can support leaders in bridging the change to leadership success in 2023 and beyond. All the details and free registration can be found here.

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