We all know that for those who observe the late November and December holidays, life can be hectic. Most of us no longer have someone at home who is polishing the silver, decorating the house and baking the cookies or whatever treat goes with your holiday celebration.
Today’s workers are doing it all. They are bringing home the bacon and having to cook it, as well. During normal times, this can be stressful, but during the end of year holidays, it can be even more difficult. Added to this is the fact that in these post-recession times, workforces are leaner than ever. Additionally, people are worried about the security of their jobs, all of which adds to the stress.
The wise manager knows that this is the case and does some thinking about what might be done so that the stress from work does not make things worse. At a minimum, this means planning the workload so that it is not at the peak during the holidays. In this slideshow, Palmer Hartl, author of “The Ten Commandments of Management,” offers five tips managers can use to help ease the pressure on their employees.
K. Palmer Hartl, MDiv graduated from Grinnell College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biological Sciences. He graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1968, where he received an MDiv, with a concentration in counseling and group dynamics. While in his first parish, Rev. Hartl began additional training in group work, team interaction, and Transactional Analysis. This eventually led to a career as a pastoral psychotherapist and leadership and management consultant to for profit and not for profit organizations.
Reducing Stress During the Holidays
Click through for five things managers can do to help relieve employee stress during the holiday season, as identified by author K. Palmer Hartl, MDiv.
Don’t be a Mind Reader
We may think that we know what everyone in our unit is going though during the holiday, but the likelihood is that we don’t. So in the spirit of “servant leadership,” ask them individually and collectively how you can help make the season better for them.
One Size Does Not Fit All
In our pluralistic, secularizing world, don’t assume that the holidays are the same for everyone. For some, they may not be holidays at all. In fact, finding out the situation for each person who reports to you might help you do a better job of initiating some trade-offs and balancing the workload.
Get the Team or Working Group to Help Itself
In addition to talking with people individually about what is ahead for them during the holidays, have a team meeting where folks can share with each other what is up for them individually and how they can work better together to shoulder the workload so everyone can have a less stressful holiday season.
Address Known Issues
This is a time of year when one of the best things you can do for your people is to have the unit you manage working optimally. In anticipation of the holidays, convene the team to deal with things that are getting in the way of the unit working optimally. If some individuals are not pulling their weight and you have procrastinated about speaking with them, better now than later.
Encourage People to Take Unused Time Off
American workers are not taking their vacation time. They are afraid that if they are not at work, things will pass them by, and, in the worst case, people will decide that they can get along without them and they will be fired. Assuming you can get the work done, reassure employees that it is okay with you for them to take some time off during the holidays to enjoy themselves and their families. Not only give them permission, but give them encouragement to “recreate” themselves.