The holidays represent a time for reflection and catching up – giving thanks for what you have and whom you share your life with. We try with great resistance to keep our attitude along this line of thinking but the internal narrative can be taxing amidst year-end deadlines, last minute rushing around, satisfying too many parties and an obligation to do it all in thirty days.
When we carry this load, we invariable bring it to work. For most, end of the year is particularly stressful because it represents the last mad dash to get rid of inventory, renew service contracts, grab last minute dollars on new deals, and generally hit all the goals that have passed from last quarter done along with the ones set for Q4.
Behaviorally this shift is different than the rest of the year because of the looming personal obligations with the holidays not the least of which is the company party or white elephant gift exchange. We choose to pile so much on that we can quickly lose touch with collaboration and connection that makes end of year business happen.
Although it may seem impossible to take a step back and force the reflective spirit of the season while working deadlines, the positive results of doing so may get you over the line successfully. Here are a few ways to maintain the sanctity of the team spirit throughout the stress of December.
1. Say thank you more often
Gratitude is so overlooked in times of high demand and stress. If you feel alone in juggling personal and business obligations know you are not alone. Everyone around you is trying to do the best possible job and hearing words of thanks goes a long way to provide calm and reassurance. It also shows your teammates you are paying attention to their contribution and value.
2. Be extra sensitive
As everyone runs around checking off their to-do lists, remember that a harsh sounding tone in email, forgetting to complete a task asked of you by your peer, or general negligence in re-affirming to individuals why they help you get things done, is a huge slap in the face. While it might be challenging to be graceful sometimes in the execution of a year-end deliverable, be more thoughtful about how you ask for things around your co-workers and gentle nudges of reminders for outstanding items creates a neutral zone so people can stay focused on work not emotional response.
3. Schedule a team lunch
When the height of goal completion seems slightly out of reach, take a moment to have a holiday lunch. Nothing formal, just a casual get together to provide a break and to be together. A good lunch offers more than a chotskies gift exchange. You can relax, breathe, and enjoy each other’s company. This approach builds bonds that provide renewal into the New Year.
Work and the holiday season don’t have to be terrible burdens. When you pay attention to your team and foster greater connection during this time, you will not only help your co-workers get through the challenges, you might find a little peace of earth for yourself as well.