The Holidays and Stress

Managers coping with the Holidays and Stress

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 what ever 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 also worried about the security of their jobs. All of this all 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. Maximally it means doing some of the following things:

Five ways for managers to help employees reduce stress during the Holidays.

Don’t Mind-Read - 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 of the people who report 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.

Oil the Machine 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 there are individuals who 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 that they will be fired. Assuming that you can get the work done, reassure them 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.

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