As one of the busiest seasons of the year approaches, it’s only natural that the workplace — along with the people in it — reaches a higher volume of stress than usual. The month leading up to Christmas can be full of tasks such as holiday shopping, arranging travel plans, hosting relatives and much more.
Rather than letting the obligations and packed schedules weigh you down, make it a goal this year to take the necessary actions to keep your organization functioning as smoothly as possible. As leaders, it is our responsibility to keep our teams grounded amongst all the hustle and bustle and set the tone for how things will operate.
Here are four steps to help you in leading a team through the holidays.
1. Determine priorities and establish goals. Before things have a chance to pile up, take some time to sit down and determine what needs to be done before the Christmas break. Write down a complete list of the objectives that you and your team have to accomplish and rank them in terms of importance. Having a physical list of the tasks at hand will help you analyze the big picture.
Once you have clear goals in mind, you will be able to see what can wait until after the holidays. Maintaining realistic benchmarks will ease the minds of both you and your team, allowing everyone to fully enjoy their time off.
2. Delegate when needed. In order to make the most of your time, it is crucial that you decide what tasks require your specific skill set and which can be delegated to the other members of your team. You may find yourself thinking, ‘It’ll be easier if I just do it myself.’ This train of thought can be destructive. Taking on too much and spreading yourself thin leaves more room for mistakes or even for jobs to go unfinished.
However, be sure not to overload your employees. Try to evenly distribute duties among the individuals who are not already overbooked.
3. Set a schedule and stick to it. If you are going to successfully complete your to-do list in a limited amount of time, you will have to set a schedule and not stray from it. Although it can be easy to get distracted and move from one thing to the next as new thoughts emerge, it is critical that you stay on task.
Blocking out times to accomplish certain obligations will allow you to maximize your attention and achieve your highest level of productivity. For example, set aside the first few hours of the morning to respond to emails and clean up your inbox rather than sporadically checking throughout the day. This will allow you to give your complete focus to one project at a time.
4. Create healthy boundaries. As a leader, it is important to know when it’s time to unplug. It can be easy to pick up the laptop and send a quick email or two in a moment of free time. However, it’s vital to create healthy boundaries while you are on a holiday break, or any sort of vacation. It’s essential for your personal well-being and for the sake of setting a proper example for your team.
Be intentional with your time off. Try to resist letting your mind wander to thoughts related to the office. Use this time to decompress and be fully present with your loved ones.
The Christmas season can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. If you take the time to follow these steps, you and your team will be able to fully enjoy the holiday without the burden of unfinished work or the thoughts of what needs to be done when you return.
Leading a team through the holidays is a big responsibility, but if you are able to successfully close out the year and reduce stress, your team will be ready to tackle the new year with refreshed minds and renewed motivation.