It is the holidays after all...and tis the season.
You say you can’t believe it, but it’s true. December. The holidays have arrived. That means get ready…your life is amped and so is your business. Any little sign of the holidays, after it stirs up the initial holiday-fest excitement, dread creeps in. Man, it’s going to be busy this month. In between Christmas shopping (1 for me, 1 for you…we all know who we are) and full pressure mode at your business, here are some tips to help get you and your team through the next couple weeks. Because yes, as December will pass, no one wants to just survive the month…it’s all about being able to also thrive this month.
Any time there is a sustained period of peak performance output required of your team, whether it’s seasonal or other stressful times such as running shorthanded or not being set up for success, it will be tolerated by most for a time; but the well does dry up if it’s a prolonged state. Bitterness can seep in and sour the knowledge that skillfully conquering these peak output times is what your team does best. It can be very daunting to your new found leaders, and even your most trusted and resilient team members will eventually become beaten up and indifferent. Over time, it just becomes too much to handle…period.
If you are starting to see symptoms of overload in your business, here are some lifelines:
Hang with the frontline employees. They need some love here. They are the ones in the trenches and these days, you are there too. It will bring upon a chance for them to take a breath, have a sense that they are not alone in it, and shows you walk the walk.
Allow decision making, ultimately serving the team and the customer best. While you spend some time in the trenches, smile watching your team do what they do. Don’t give in to the urge to interject whether they are handling an upset client or a task that you may do differently…you are on their turf. Besides, you will need to hop around to the next fire, let your team be in charge of what you have taught them to be in charge of. Add insight only when it will mean something.
Reassure the team that you are aware of their current plight. It has not gone un-noticed, and you are working on a resolution (suggestions welcome!).
Appreciative morale builder: Whether it be food, praise, a contest, whatever…some sort of smile-producer is needed immediately! The end may not be here in a half hour, but pizza can be! Give them a second wind.
Every business has periods of time that requires the team to push through and dig deep, and employees get that. What can’t happen is the feeling that there is no reprieve coming and that you are either oblivious and/or underestimating the drain of the constant struggle. Resentment will begin to build, corners will be cut, justifications will be made, and the integrity you worked so hard to build will wash away very, very swiftly. No team can be expected to always be on a grind.
Lift them up, set the standard, and your team will be inspired that you see them.