8 Ways Leaders Can Give Back Over the Holidays

We all know that the holidays are a time for giving. Who doesn’t look forward to celebrating the holidays by giving and receiving gifts with friends and family? At work, the rules are sometimes unclear. Many leaders struggle with striking the right balance between doing too much or too little; honoring the holiday and respecting employees’ needs. Here are a few guidelines that I believe will help any team leader make thoughtful choices this holiday season.

  • It’s about time, Part 1 – There is literally no better gift you can give than your time. Imagine how valued you can make your employees feel by sitting down, paying attention, and listening without distraction to their feedback or insights. Leaders who give generously of their time and focused attention are rewarded with commitment, hard work and trust.

  • It’s about time, Part 2 – The holidays are wonderful….and stressful. Giving teammates flexible schedules and extra time to shop, get a work out in, attend the kids’ Christmas pageant or travel or be with family, is the best gift you can give.

  • Don’t be a Scrooge – Embrace the fun of the season by encouraging office decorations, wearing that Santa hat, singing that karaoke carol and treating everyone to peppermint mochas at the staff meeting.

  • Take one for the team – if there is some task that is universally hated, extremely tedious or annoyingly time consuming, take responsibility for it this month. This will send a strong message of esprit de corps and trust within your team.

  • Shine a spotlight – The end of the year is the perfect time to celebrate successes. Give credit where it’s due for the people and projects that went above and beyond. Public, sincere appreciation is a tremendous compliment.

  • Get real – When you gather as a team, talk about what made you proud this year and what you would’ve done differently. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable – it’s a powerful trust builder. Also, practice what you preach about work/life balance. Take time off from work and demonstrate the behavior you want to see in your team.
  • Meaningful gathering –Skip the over-the-top, alcohol-fueled holiday work party. People enjoy smaller, more meaningful gatherings. Avoid too much talk about business, and instead, take this opportunity to celebrate the year’s highlights and thank everyone for a job well done.
  • Meaningful giving – Skip the generic, one-size-fits-thousands gifts and corporate holiday cards. Give gifts that are actually useful or have real meaning to the receiver. As an alternative to gifts, coordinate charitable giving with your team. Collect money, goods or better yet, give your time. It’s an excellent team-building idea and a great way to build a tradition of giving back.

 Be an authentic leader this holiday season. Your team will appreciate your sincerity, humility and heart-feltgoodwill. Happy holidays to all!

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