wreathThe end of the year is upon us, temperatures have dropped, stores are filling up and so are our schedules. People are focused on closing out projects, wrapping up obligations and meeting the added demands of holiday stress. To maximize the potential of the people in our charge, compassionate leaders need to consider a few points while navigating their teams through this season:

Make room for extra Life
I always tell my project management students and clients to “make room for life” in their project schedules. Well, no time is this more true than during the Holidays. Suddenly your expert has had to run to the airport to pick up his mom,
or his daughter has a program at school. Schedules change, children have programs, relatives arrive, and personal schedules really pick up, so make room for the extra responsibilities. With Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s all occupying the same season, it’s no wonder people get partied out. So, instead of dreading the Holiday season schedule, plan for it.

Keep the light on.
This time of year marks a time of jubilant celebration for many, but not everyone on your team is rejoicing right now. On the contrary, this may be a very dark time for members of your team who have lost loved ones. The holiday season can be a painful reminder of loss and create a roller coaster of
emotions. So how can you help? Chances are you can’t (unless you are a trained therapist), and this leaves people feeling helpless and unsure of what to say or do. But you can be sensitive to not further the hurt, and provide the compassion their hurting heart needs. Privately acknowledging how your team member might feel is an important step in removing the isolation that can come and will help shine light in the dark time.

People have a different “Reason for the Season”
As a Christian, I believe that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”, and you may, too. But, chances are not everyone on your team believes this. Compassionate leaders accept that people have
different belief systems, and they should all be able to express them. That’s what makes diversity so wonderful. Since US-based companies have Christmas off as a holiday, it’s not uncommon to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, after all, everyone will likely be able to enjoy the holiday, however they choose to spend that day. Have an internationally diverse team? Consider a Traditions around the World theme for your holiday celebration.

So go ahead, drink a gallon of egg nog, eat a pound of cookies, and spend way too much. However you celebrate the season, consider the ideas above to help you do so while considering the feelings of those you lead to excellence.