All leaders know the balancing act it takes to maintain a good relationship while also providing needed discipline and direction. This balancing act becomes a touch more difficult during the holidays; not only does the time of year call for a cheerier mindset, but it is also a time when people take more time off of work, even though consumer needs do not decrease. Amongst all of the holiday cheer, leaders deal with a new type of responsibility: choosing when to hold people accountable, when to allow people a bit of time, and when to get back to the grind.

However, despite widespread employee vacations and time off, the work continues. It is up to leadership to have employees ready for the holidays; the success of it all sits in employees’ determination, focus, and professionalism. The two seem incompatible; however, employee happiness and financial targets can both be achieved. 

Use these four tips to lead your team during the holiday season:

  1. Set a clear schedule and deadline for time off Let employees know, with plenty of notice, what is expected of them. This gives both parties the time to prepare for what lies ahead.
  2. Lead by example It’s quite apparent that an employer who takes much time off, but expects employees to work through the holidays is going to have a more difficult time asking more of their employees. Model the right behavior with a good attitude, and employees will follow suit. Go above and beyond by pitching in to get workloads completed. 
  3. Don’t be a grinch Not everyone shares the same love for the holidays, and not everyone is as good at handling the stress that the season brings. Leaders should possess keen emotional intelligence that allows them to gauge their behavior towards their team. Aim for full awareness of your actions and speak with employees to ensure they have enough support. 
  4. No Stretching – It may be tempting to ask employees to do more this month to prepare for upcoming time off. While this can be a helpful and smart move, it is essential to understand each employee’s threshold. Be understanding and realistic with employee expectations and direct focus to the priorities. Bring in snacks and have small, intermittent breaks to avoid too many distractions. Communicate with employees and help them navigate any issues or problems as they emerge.