Holiday stress and work stress can be too much! Leading people effectively this time of year takes intentional care. Our employees (and ourselves) get overwhelmed with task lists and other various personal demands that surpass any other time of year. When we add the personal stress onto year-end work stress, a volatile situation is created such that it could affect our talent base to the point of disengagement or possibly even losing them, eventually. In an article about our next generation of workers learning to lead people, Steve Keating states,
“…you can care about someone without leading them, but you cannot truly lead someone without caring for them.”
Think about when you worked for someone who really cared about your well-being. Were you more apt to work harder for that person? Of course.
Many organizations stand by this leadership competency so much that they have a ‘Leading with Care’ policy for all leaders to adhere to. Don’t be discouraged if your company doesn’t have this expectation; you can still follow the spirit of the policy in your own leadership style. The point of leading with care is to ensure a genuine connection between leaders and their teams (fake attempts at this can be sniffed out immediately), to create an atmosphere of respect between all parties at work, and to encourage and support our teams in achieving excellence.
Here are 3 ways to show your leadership by caring for others in December:
1. Flex For a Few Weeks
We all know that being present during work hours is critical, but what if we were offered a few weeks of flex-time to get through the holiday season? Time, in itself, feels like the best gift! If possible, allow employees time to extend their lunch hours for running errands or skipping lunch in order to leave early on that particular day (within FLSA guidelines for nonexempt employees, of course) to accomplish personal tasks. An easy way of instituting flexibility is to ensure that you establish “core hours”, ex: 10-2, where all employees must be present. The hours before and after those core hours are flexible for arrival and departure from work, as long as the hours worked during the day add up to a normal business day.
2. Make Time For Wellness
Aren’t we all guilty of putting our own wellness on the shelf during busy times? Show your team that you want them to take care of themselves during this time of year. Some ways you can do this include:
- Providing nutritious lunches or mid-day breaks.
- Scheduling a walking meeting (if weather permits).
- Bringing in a yoga instructor for a lunch break.
- Having 15-minute chair massages for employees throughout the day.
- Having the EAP make office visits for anyone who would like to take advantage of an on-site resource, or reach out to remote workers who may need a quick check to ensure all is well.
3. Allow Time-off For Volunteering
Nothing provides a better return of wellbeing and warmth like helping others. Consider allowing employees time-off during work hours to pitch in at the charity of their choice, or a charity supported by the organization. ‘Tis the season after all!
Taking time to lead with intentional care through the holidays undoubtedly supports your employee’s engagement and grows everyone’s appreciation at work. Try it!