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Happy Holidays?

Across the world, more than 20 different religious and secular holidays are observed throughout November and December. Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is widely celebrated in India. The Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos commemorates the lives of loved ones who have passed away. Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Festivus, Christmas, Boxing Day, and Kwanzaa all fall within days of each other.


All of these, plus parties, kids’ events, school holidays, shopping, travel, cooking, family obligations, and trying to finish up end of the year work responsibilities? It’s a lot.


These weeks should be filled with laughter and happiness, but reality is more complicated. While many of us enjoy this time of year, for others, the holiday season is difficult to maneuver. Some people struggle with loss, money concerns, or family issues. Some have to manage sickness, anxiety, or depression. Despite the festive season, everyone is dealing with something stressful in one way or another. As a Leader, how do you navigate that for yourself and your team?


Start with awareness. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Maybe you’re data driven, and you need to be more in tune with the vibe of your team. Maybe you have a good feel for the emotional pulse of your employees, and you need to look for patterns in productivity and performance. Either way, be conscious of individual contributions, responses, and behaviors. When something seems off, be open-minded to finding out why.


Set realistic expectations. You have end-of-year deadlines that have to be met, and you have your kiddo’s holiday festival to attend. You have projects to complete, and you are hosting your out-of-town family for five days. You know this time of year is coming. It always does. That’s how life works! Prepare for as much as you can ahead of time, and give yourself and your team a break. How much, really, can you accomplish without making yourself crazy?


Be compassionate. Every single person in your life is dealing with something you know nothing about. Embrace the good stuff, and have empathy for the tough stuff. You don’t need to know the intimate details of your team members’ lives. You do need to be mindful of their needs and to support, encourage, and provide for them as individuals. In addition, you must take care of yourself personally and professionally. You cannot lead your team well if you’re burnt out and exhausted.


In short, be kind to yourself and to your colleagues. Don't be like this guy ↓↓↓. Take a step back, breathe, and appreciate the moment. Isn’t that kind of the point this time of year?

illumination's grinch with coffee


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