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December 2023 iLead Update: Lessons on Leadership

Happy Holidays Leadership Challenge Fans

The entire iLead team sends you wishes for a peaceful holiday season and a prosperous New Year. Missie and I will be with our three granddaughters over Christmas (oh, and their parents will be there too).

In this month’s issue, we are sharing just a few thoughts to get you through the holidays:

  • Quick Tip – How to Look Back in December and Look Ahead In January to Improve Team Performance
  • Quick Recipe – Crockpot Eggs – (This one was a big hit at our recent team retreat)
  • Quick Glance At Our Calendar – Time to Register for Upcoming Workshops
  • Quick Photos of our Team Retreat – To warm your heart

We appreciate your feedback and support this year about how you are working intentionally to stay on track with your Leadership Challenge Action Plan.  The most important elements of the workshop, according to your feedback:

  • Clarifying my Values and working to stay aligned with them each day
  • Getting clear on my Philosophy of Leadership – sharing that with others as I work to intentionally build a winning culture
  • Developing a Vision of the Future and asking others to weigh in on how we achieve it
  • Working deliberately to Challenge the Process by accumulating Small Wins along the way
  • Mindfully using Powerful Language to bring out the best in others
  • Encouraging the Heart! Creatively, consistently, and with a spirit that builds community

Let us know how you are and what you are up to.  We love feedback from those doing great work in the world around TLC!


Quick Tip – Navigating Tomorrow by Reflecting on Yesterday

Research shows that leaders who take time with their team to reflect on the past often create a more detailed and well-thought-out vision for the future. Here is an exercise that takes place in December and January to help you and your team celebrate accomplishments and get excited about the future.   This was an annual exercise my team at Family and Protective Services engaged in and it was always a great celebration and a way to align everyone towards the coming year.

In December

Carve out time to look at the past year.

  • Give everyone a page of flip chart paper and 2-3 Markers.
  • Have everyone spend some time listing their accomplishments from the last 12 months. Tell people not to be shy, but to help the team celebrate their victories of the year.  Include professional and personal events. At the bottom of the flip chart, have everyone list one lesson they have learned from the previous year that they will apply to the year ahead.
  • Have everyone post their flip chart page on the wall and present them one at a time.  Afterward, ask the team if the presenter missed anything.  Finish each presentation with a huge round of applause; the louder the better.

In January

Create time to look forward to the year ahead as a team in January.

  • Give everyone a page of flip chart paper and 2-3 Markers.
  • Have everyone spend time “visioning” for the next year. What are they excited about?  This can be either personal, professional, or both.
  • Have them circle one goal they feel is most important to them.
  • Have them present their vision to the room.  Afterward, lead the group in a round of applause.
  • Time Permitting: Create groups of three or four and have them identify trends they saw between team members.  What goals and dreams are common?  How could they “fit together” as a common vision for the future?

This exercise offers leaders the opportunity to inspire and mobilize others towards a common vision. It gives insight into the team’s hopes and dreams and helps build stronger teams through increased transparency and sharing.

Quick Tip – CrockPot Eggs

During the holidays, anything that saves a little time is a blessing. During a recent team retreat, I cooked breakfast overnight in a crock pot for the team and their spouses.  Prep Time – 30 minutes.  Cook time – 7-8 hours – while I slept!  It was a great breakfast with easy cleanup that was well received by all.  Try this over the holiday season to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with those you love.


  • 1 Slow Cooker Liner
  • 1 bag Hash Brown Potatoes (frozen, 32 ounces)
  • 1 pound Bacon (sausage, or ham, cooked & crumbled or diced)
  • 2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded, about 8 oz)
  • 2 Green Onions (sliced)
  • 1 White Onion (small finely diced, about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper (diced)
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper (diced)
  • 12 Eggs
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dry Mustard Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Black Pepper


Grease the 6-quart slow cooker lightly or use a slow cooker liner.

If using bacon or sausage, cook and crumble. Drain fat leaving 1 tablespoon in the pan.

If desired, soften the onion in the fat. This is optional but will soften the flavor of the onion.

Grease a 6-quart slow cooker. Place half the hash browns, meat, onions, peppers, and cheese in the slow cooker. Repeat layers ending with cheese, do not stir.

Whisk eggs, milk, and seasonings in a medium bowl. Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients in the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Once cooked, uncover and let the casserole rest for 15 minutes.

Kitchen Hack – Use hash browns with peppers and onions.  This saves time, but it is more flavorful with fresh onions and peppers!

As an option, serve with sour cream and salsa!

Got a favorite recipe you use during the holidays?  We would love to hear from you.


Printable Recipe Card:  Crockpot Eggs – Denise McDonald

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