This past year has been unlike any other in recent memory. While 2020 was difficult, at least we all had a brief period of normalcy before COVID-19 upended everything. In 2021, however, the pandemic dominated our lives since day one. On a personal and professional level, many of us are spent. However, in order to move forward and thrive as leaders in 2022, we all need some help. That’s why we here at Women in Retail Leadership Circle thought it would be a great idea to list — in one handy article — what we believe are our 10 best leadership tips of the year.

The tips, which we feature below in chronological order, originally appeared throughout 2021 in this e-newsletter and on Women in Retail Leadership Circle’s website. They cover everything from motivating your team to time management, and more! We hope you enjoy them, and find some inspiration as well!

“It takes two — an employer and an employee — to create a fulfilling, reciprocally constructive, and meaningful professional relationship. A team member’s engagement and satisfaction at work is a shared accountability between the employer and the employee. This isn’t possible if employees are unclear on what they need to be satisfied in their jobs.” — Carson Tate, Working Simply, “Are Your Employees Breaking Up With You? 3 Ways to Win Them Back,” Inner Circle, Nov. 16

“We’re entering the age of the empowered employee. These are employees who have a choice about where they work. At the heart of it, employees are seeking a stronger sense of belonging in their organizations. As such, leaders need to acknowledge this shift in mindsets and meet their employees there with a more holistic approach to engagement and retention that creates a trusting, supportive environment in which people can thrive — and ultimately feel compelled to stay put.” — Danielle Beauparlant Moser, Right Management, “Your Leadership Brand MATTERS in the War for Talent,” Inner Circle, Nov. 9

“I’m a true believer in the power of gratitude to drive business. However, I’m also a realistic business owner who understands that for some, the concept of integrating a practice of gratitude can be daunting. Therefore, I encourage you to start small with your immediate team. Ask yourself: Who on my team helps me, keeps me accountable and makes my job easier? Then write a personal note to each of them, on paper, not an email, that starts: “I want to thank you for … ” You’ll be surprised how this small gesture can bolster relationships with your team and lead to positive results for your business,” — Michele Bailey, The Blazing Group, “Simple Ways Gratitude Can Strengthen and Grow Your Business,” Inner Circle, Nov. 2

“At the heart of diversity and inclusion is truly embracing people as their whole selves — not shoehorning them into some mold we have. While many organizations claim to value women’s voices, they downplay traditionally feminine leadership characteristics like listening and collaboration. Instead, they want women to display more stereotypical male traits like control and individual decision making. But these traits are actually less effective, and placing outsize value on them makes women feel like they can’t be their true selves in their jobs. Leaders do best when they value women as they are, including the diverse leadership traits they bring to the table.” — Latané Conant, 6sense, “The ‘She-Cession’ and What Women Leaders Can Do to Stop It,” Inner Circle, Oct. 19

“When I first started in business, I was in the mode of ‘proving myself’ and putting all of my energy into my career. I knew I was making sacrifices elsewhere, but I thought I had to do it to get ahead. A few years in, I realized this was a mistake. First, it was unhealthy; I ended up just feeling depleted and not always performing at my best. Second, I discovered that some of my most creative ideas come to me outside of work. By prioritizing things like healthy eating, time with family and friends, exercising, and making time to do things ‘out of my routine or comfort zone,’ I became more effective in my career.” — Leslie Ferraro, QVC U.S. and HSN, “5 Top Women in Retail on the Key Career Obstacles They Faced,” Inner Circle, Aug. 31

“Be bold and clear about who you are and what you stand for. Say what you reject. Make it known and repeat it — on your website, in job descriptions, in company memos, and in the media. Find opportunities to reinforce it through your actions, whether charitable donations, volunteer days, or advocacy. Carefully consider the lengths you’re willing to go, and where you may not be able to make good on commitments.” — May Habib, Writer, “Corporate Leaders: Do Your Words Fit Your Culture and Values?,” Inner Circle, May 25

“Want to be proactive rather than reactive? Take time to set your mind. Every evening before you leave your workspace for the day, spend five minutes truly assessing what’s important for you to accomplish the following day. And no cheating. We need to make sure we’re not populating our “to do” lists with easy wins so that we can cross them off quickly. Decide on just three activities that will most effectively move you toward achieving your strategic goals, and a rough time frame for each. If you need time to actually work that priority, schedule time on your calendar to do so. If something higher priority comes up the next morning, you can replace one or more of the activities. But you can never add. Each of us gets just three simple priorities a day. That’s how we rule the world.” — Cindy Solomon, Courageous Leadership Institute, “4 Calendar Control Secrets of Successful Executives,” Inner Circle, April 20

“Creating space for new insights from your team requires new thinking. Your job is to welcome this new thinking, even if it feels a bit stormy in the moment. Welcome different points of view and perspectives without taking sides and, if you’re not already hearing it, find a way to welcome difference of opinion into the conversation. Learn to stay with conflict rather than deflecting, changing the subject, or moving on to something new. Teams don’t naturally want to stay in conflict; they have patterns of avoiding it, often at all costs. But this is where the good stuff happens.” — Marsha Acker, TeamCatapult, “The 5 Guiding Principles of Facilitation,” Inner Circle, March 9

“Have the team visualize how they imagine a diverse, equitable and inclusive organization will be in the future. Have them write those visualizations as stories of their futures. Share them. Gather together people at every level of the organization. They have to create this shared visualization of a DEI organization and help each individual say what they’re going to actually do to make it happen, not some day, but the next day. See, believe, act is what we preach.” — Andi Simon, Simon Associates Management Consultants, “5 Tips for Creating a Really Inclusive Workplace,” Inner Circle, March 2

“On an individual level, everyone can mentor someone. We all have something to share that can help someone else. Don’t discount your own experiences. Mentors are needed in all facets of our professional lives. One mentor may guide you early in your career, another may guide you on your leadership journey, and yet another may guide you in your development as you advance. It’s important to note that mentorship is actually a dialogue where all parties are both teachers and students, where each person gives as much as they receive. Relationships are vital in helping us navigate the career journey.” — Krista Bourne, Verizon, “4 Ways Leaders Can Create Paths to Success for Diverse Talent,” Inner Circle, Feb. 16