It’s that time of year. Thanksgiving is behind us and the holiday bustle is in full swing. It could be the end of a semester for you, your slow season, or a time allotted for loved ones, rejuvenation, and reflection.
For the rest, it’s the opposite. Maybe you work in hospitality and overtime is not only expected, but it’s also mandatory. Maybe it’s Q4 and (like many) your company is behind. Whatever the industry, one thing is certain: leading powerfully through this time of year is not for the faint of heart. No one wants to be the “bad guy” keeping employees late on a Friday night, knowing they are missing out on quality time with family and friends. And sometimes that’s exactly what we have to do. If reading this has already given you an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach, don’t fear. Here are three actionable ways to keep your team energized, productive, and full of cheer while delivering the perfectly-wrapped results your company needs.
The Nice List
Everyone has a list of events they need to participate in over the next month. Some have school plays for their kids, others are hosting parties and need to prepare. Add in out-of-town guests and all of the emotional turbulence that comes with them and you’ve got tempered chaos. This compounds the end of quarter/year stress for employees.
Rather than waiting for the people on your team to nervously ask for time off, initiate time with each of them to see how you can best support them through the month.
Be flexible when you can. Express genuine excitement for the events they’re attending. You’ll understand what’s critical for their well-being in advance (no last-minute fire drills that leave you in a lurch) and you’ll create a positive interaction that co-creates a plan that works for everyone.
Festival of FUN
If ever there’s a time to be intentional about FUN in the workplace, now is that time.
And not just the front-line employees. Everyone.
A cookie exchange, office-wide Secret Santa, a lunchtime Kan Jam competition, holiday costume contests, or collecting items to adopt a family in need. Anything to get people in all roles, in every level of the company, engaging with their fellow teammates in a way that promotes belly laughing and community.
No Presents. Be Present.
Now, this may be where I lose you. Yes, you are the boss. Yes, you’ve paid your dues. Yes, you’ve earned the time off. And nothing is more disheartening to a dedicated, talented team than asking them to go the extra mile, to drive hard toward the finish line, as you cheerfully smile and wave at them while walking out the door. “Do as I say, not as I do” does not inspire. Ducking out the side door as your employees assist your most challenging clients, does not motivate. Leading from the front does. Taking the late shift, having that tough conversation with a disgruntled vendor, or jumping in to help finish a presentation that’s near deadline. Those are the things people notice and appreciate.
Am I saying that taking time to be with your loved ones is wrong? No. Am I saying to work yourself to the bone, ignoring your own personal obligations? No. What I am saying is: be thoughtful about how you show up as a LEADER. Be there when you can, carrying the burden with your team. Encourage, participate and show gratitude as you work alongside the team you are fortunate enough to serve. And I promise, that will have a greater impact than any holiday card ever could.
Christine Rogers is the Head of Sales & Marketing at Y Scouts. She believes that crafting a perfect match between purpose-driven organizations and passionate, capable individuals to lead them, is transformative. It not only impacts the individuals they serve, but has a rippling effect that touches families, communities, and our economy.