Managing During the Holidays
Managing during the holidays can be challenging. Yes, the holidays are a time of joy and promise but they can also be a time filled with uncertainty, stress and discomfort. All employees including those in leadership positions can, and most likely will, get caught up in the stress of preparation, expense, tension and family responsibility which unavoidably spills over into the workplace.
Managers/leaders in various industries have been known to rant that the holiday season tends to bring out the best as well as the worse in people. The wonderful time of remembrance and celebration has not always been positive for some. Similar to the classic movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, for those of you who know that film, people may experience feelings of remorse over: uncompleted dreams, relationships lost, and the increased tension due to increased expense in trying to meet gifting expectations. Others conjure sad memories of important persons, traditions and things lost. All of these feelings and mixed emotions can cloud the joy of the season.
Employees in your company share many of these mixed feelings and emotions and may/will bring them into the workplace. How can supervisors/companies ensure focus, productivity and success during this season? Acknowledging the challenge of the season with your management team is a good first step. Hold an open conversation and share ideas about how best to engage, supervise and support your employees to ensure a productive season.
Identify a few ways to help ease the tension of the season. Be creative. Here are some I have used successfully:
1. Hold intentional, brief conversations: Provide space for management to express appreciation for work well done via an email, in person, at a staff meeting, and/or a holiday event. Touch base, walk around and get to know your employees.
2. Create a holiday bonus: Gift employees a holiday bonus, if affordable, this goes a long way to incentivize staff and show the company’s appreciation.
3. Give the gift of time: Approve an individual employee holiday afternoon off for shopping and/or just for relaxing. This acknowledges the company’s understanding of its employees’ hectic schedules and hurried lives particularly for those with young families.
4. Provide treats: Establish a small fund so that your management team members can provide in their departments morning coffee and pastry once a week and/or mid afternoon popcorn or candy. If this is not affordable, plan a central location for creating community with munchies.
5. Acknowledge and Listen: Simply listen and acknowledge that each person celebrates and/or experiences the season differently.
Remember, it is always the small actions of kindness and understanding that go a long way especially during what can be a difficult time for your employees.
Share your ideas--you may help someone!