When the holidays are just around the corner — or already here — leadership and motivation in the workplace can be especially challenging. For managers and small-business owners, the holiday season means they need to work with fewer people as employees take vacation, sick leave, and PTO. At the same time, the workload may stay the same or even increase, depending on your business.
So, how can leaders and managers keep up both productivity and employee motivation during the holidays? We’ve put together five great tips on how to be an effective leader this season.
5 Tips for Leadership and Motivation in the Workplace During the Holidays
1. Manage Vacation Requests as a Team
If you’re managing a team, it’s natural to feel a little nervous when someone — or some people — mention that they’re planning to take more than a couple of days off for the holidays. After all, few businesses are overstaffed or can afford to hire temporary employees. The result is that some managers ask employees to work extra hard in the time leading up to vacation or to periodically check-in during their time off. While this works in some situations, we recommend taking a proactive approach to planning the team’s vacation schedule by involving everyone on the team.
For example, if you’re managing a team of five, mention that you need at least three team members working at any given time and allow the team to work together to figure out a solution. Be prepared to be flexible on your end, too — for instance, an employee traveling out of town may be able to balance the workload if they can work remotely for one or two days during the holidays.
By working together to plan team vacations, not only do you create an environment of transparency and communication, but you also improve leadership and motivation in the workplace by showing that you value the team’s vacation time.
2. Be Realistic About the Holiday Workload
Remember that your company isn’t the only one with people taking time off during the holidays. With a few notable exceptions, such as retail or shipping, most companies are used to working at reduced capacity during the holidays. This includes your own customers, partners, suppliers, and vendors.
So, as you plan and set team goals and a to-do list for the holidays, ask yourself, “What really needs to be accomplished over the holidays, and what can wait until later?”
Keep in mind that putting off some tasks until after the holidays may work out better in the long term. After spending some quality time with family and relaxing, employees feel motivated to get more things done when they return to work.
3. Let Team Members Take Sick Leave When They Need It
For most people, the holidays also mean more cases of colds, flu, and other bugs that spread easily as people spend more time indoors.
When you or someone on your team is feeling sick, it’s important to take the sick leave needed to recover. It’s tempting to just “walk it off” and go to work, but keep in mind that sick people at work are less productive and take longer to get well. Plus, a sick team member who comes into work is likely to spread a bug to the rest of the team, causing even more unexpected sick days and productivity delays.
While a lot of leaders and managers are skeptical of employees who call in sick, remember that starting from a position of trust is key to motivating people.
4. End the Year on a Good Note
After a year of achieving ambitious goals and working on big projects, chances are that your team members are struggling to stay motivated. So, before they head out for the holidays, make sure to build them up and congratulate them on their successes.
Not only should you praise employees for big-scale accomplishments, but you should also remember every day wins — like getting good feedback from a customer or meeting a short-term goal.
You should also talk to your team members about what they hope to achieve for next year. Be open to hearing about team-specific or company-oriented goals, as well as goals for personal development. You’ll build a stronger relationship with your team, and you’ll also understand the motivational factors that drive your employees’ success.
5. Take Some Time Off for Yourself, Too
As you plan your team’s vacation and holiday schedule, remember that you need to take time off, too. If you put off vacation for too long, chances are you’ll face burnout and be less effective as a leader. And if you want your team to reap the benefits of taking holiday vacation and coming back refreshed, you’ll need to be a role model.
It’s human nature to feel like you can’t leave your team without a leader, but your team is probably more resilient than you think. By leaving a list of tasks to accomplish while you’re gone, you can provide your team with direction even when you’re not around. You can also designate a team member to act as a go-to person while you’re gone. After all, great leaders know how to delegate, and employees feel good when they’re trusted with responsibility.
Bring Great Leadership and Motivation into the Workplace During the Holidays
Great leaders know they can’t expect their teams to work at full capacity the entire year. Keeping good leadership and motivation in the workplace means balancing their teams’ need to take time off with the company’s need to stay productive. By working proactively with your team this holiday season, you can ensure that everyone comes back to work feeling refreshed and ready to give 100% when they get back to work.
At Confie, we’re committed to leadership as a way to show that we’re serious about mission, culture, and values. Learn more about Confie by getting in touch with us or giving us a call at (714) 252 2500.