Successfully Leading Your Team Through the Holidays

With the end of the year looming ever-closer in the not-so-far future, many organizations are rushing to complete last-minute projects before the year comes to a close. With several holidays interspersed throughout the last month of the year, most employees are looking to take days off to spend time with their families.

It’s a delicate balance, ensuring your employees are taken care of while making sure all the necessary work is done on time. This is a tough time to lead, but it’s the most important time of year for leaders to step up for their teams and make sure it runs smoothly and successfully.

Learn What’s Plastic and What’s Glass

There’s a well-known metaphor by author Nora Roberts about balancing her work and home life that involves juggling. In the metaphor, every responsibility, project and event is represented by a ball. Some balls are made of plastic while others are made of glass.

If something is made of glass, the juggler must absolutely make sure not to drop it lest it shatter. If it’s made of plastic, it may bounce and roll, but it can be picked up later when the juggler has a free hand.

When managing your team’s workload and projects through the end of the year, make a list of the projects that are made of glass and the ones made of plastic. If your team prioritizes the more time-sensitive tasks over others, you’ll all feel better as the year draws to a close.

Handle Time-Off Requests Early

Whether your organization provides paid or unpaid time off, set expectations to have those time-off requests early and ensure you’re reviewing and approving requests early and often. The holidays are a crazy time, and peoples’ plans can change several times before the holidays actually hit! Keeping a running overview of when each member of your team will be away from work can help clarify your year-end planning and scheduling.

Be Clear About PTO

Not all employees track their paid time off closely! Some may believe they have more time off than they actually do, while others may not realize they have as much time off as they do. For companies offering PTO, make sure your employees fully understand how many paid days off they have left, as well as if any of their unused PTO days will roll over to the next year. By checking in and creating clarity early, you can help to reduce stress both for yourself and your team members.

Make Sure Time Off is Truly Time Off

Once you’ve approved an employee’s PTO, don’t expect them to engage with work when they’re taking time off. If there are any pressing projects that an employee must complete by the end of the year, work with them to determine reasonable completion dates around their days off work. But while they’re actually away from the office, don’t plan for them to be available at a moment’s notice. Respect their time off; they’ve earned it!

Keep Your Customers Informed

Nearing the end of the year, creating as much clarity as possible around days off will benefit you, your employees, and your customers. If you’re closing your store, office or facility for specific days around the holidays, clearly communicate those expectations with both your team and your customers so that everyone can plan accordingly.

Gift Yourself a Successful End of the Year

Between prepping for the holidays and managing end-of-year projects, managing stress and expectations are vital for successfully sliding into the coming year. By remaining honest and open when communicating with our teams, we can not only meet our year-end goals but exceed them. For more information on time and attendance management tools that can help your organization navigate the end-of-year scheduling, planning and team management, give us a shout! We’d love to help.

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