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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How are your people handling the holidays?

Some of you might wonder why I would even bring up a topic like this. "Why everyone loves Christmas (or substitute Hanukkah, etc. as the case may be)!"

Au contraire, mon frère!

Just because you may have a great time during the holidays, with family coming in, presents to exchange, time away from work, that is not the case for a significant number of people...maybe even some of the people you work with.

For some people, the holidays remind them of sad events or circumstances, like loved ones who no longer live or are far away. The holidays can remind people who are struggling with relationships, with bad health, or with financial worries about how much they think their lives stink and, maybe, about past times when things were better.

So how are your folks handling the holidays? Do you know?

As a boss, that obviously means the people under your supervision. As a team member and leader in your organization, it can also apply to your coworkers or even your boss.

"But I don't want to interfere with my peoples' lives." Yeah, I get that. I also hope that you currently have, or are working on building, relationships with the people around you.

All you need to do is check in with folks. Show them the genuine interest that we know you already have and ask about what's going on. You may find that:
  • Everything's great and you can share in the other person's happiness of getting together with loved ones or doing something special during this season.
  • Not everything is wonderful and the person you're checking on could just use a sympathetic or empathetic ear.
  • You can actually do something to help make a person who's in pain feel better.
Who knows? At worst, you've checked on the people you care about. At best, you might make the holidays better or, at least, more bearable for someone close to you.

Do your job as a leader...and Merry Christmas!