As we head into the holiday season in the most unprecedented year in recent memory, we can’t help but think about how our relationships will be impacted. While holidays tend to be lonely seasons for some, this year could be exponentially so.
For people who thrive on relationships and socialization, the isolation that has become synonymous with COVID-19 and social distancing will be felt heavily this year as many of us wish we could gather around the table with extended family and friends.
As leaders, we not only have to consider our own personal relationships, but those of our team as well. How can you keep your team members engaged during such an anxious time?
We’ve put together some simple tasks that leaders can do to stay connected to their teams and help each other find joy this holiday season.
Know People’s Strengths
It’s vital to know where each of your team members shine, and where they struggle. And given the current climate, team members may be struggling more than usual. Many workplaces are allowing their team members to work remotely, at least in some capacity. For people who are used to working remotely, and who have the drive and focus to be very productive working from home, this year likely hasn’t been too difficult in that capacity. However, for employees who thrive on socialization and being surrounded by others in a physical workspace, being confined to working from home can be very isolating and demotivating for them. If you have team members who are extroverted and social, make sure you check in on them regularly to ensure they are staying engaged with their work.
Assign Special Projects
The work environment looks different this year, and some people may be taking on new tasks or dropping old ones. Once you understand how your team members work best, give them special projects that align with their strengths. Some team members find reward in being assigned projects that they excel at from their leader. Know what tasks your employees like to do and are good at, and let them run with it.
Reward and Recognize
Because not everyone is the same, you can’t treat them the same. Everyone prefers to be rewarded and recognized by their leader differently. Some thrive on public recognition, while others shy away from it. Some may prefer a thoughtful gift card, while others appreciate a beautiful floral bouquet. Knowing your employees’ preferences will show them your true appreciation when recognizing them and rewarding their successes, especially this holiday season.
Host Virtual Team Events
Technology has been a blessing this year with so many people social distancing. With team members working remotely and not in the same physical location, it can be difficult for a leader to keep the team dynamic strong. If team outings can’t be safely held in person, bring the fun to the virtual space. You can plan themed events or have fun with team trivia. Or have a movie watch party with your team members. Many businesses like to host Thanksgiving meals for their employees each year. Find a safe alternative for your team members this year, such as having a special meal delivered to their homes and arranging a time for everyone to video chat together while they enjoy their meals. Tap into what your team would find engaging and make it a regular part of the next few months, making sure that everyone feels included.
Holidays are bound to look very different this year. But that doesn’t have to mean all hope is lost. Connect with your team members to understand how they are doing and where they could use some help. Ensure they feel connected to the team, and utilize technology and creativity to bring some fun to the holiday season. Maintaining strong, positive relationships is more important than ever. Make your team members feel valued and appreciated.