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Build Holiday Cheer Into The New Year

Welcome to the New Year! Are you overwhelmed yet? New resolutions, goals, a pile of work waiting on your desk, and of course all of those appointments and meetings you put off in December. Everything now comes hurtling at you with and for some unknown reason, often contains an increased degree of urgency.

This is even more evident when you are managing or leading teams. The social buzz and enthusiasm from before the holidays has now quickly dissipated, replaced by the hum-drum post-holiday blues.

Yes, sometimes the invigorating energy of a New Year can really bring you down! That is, of course, unless you have a plan. Here are some ideas on how you can reinvigorate your team with enthusiasm to keep the momentum (and results!) moving.

Perspective:

A fire is urgent; everything else cascades from this point. The perception of heightened priority is typically the result of lack of movement or progress caused by Christmas holidays or vacations. Think about the last time you couldn’t get your kids or significant other off the couch. The longer they stayed there, the more frustrated you became. The key to ensuring that the energy and engagement amongst your team remains high is to create real priorities and minimize distractions or impacts from other parties. Shelter your team from the rest of the organization for the first weeks back to help them get back on track, completing assignments that were started before the holidays.

Festivities:

Part of the reason people become so depressed in January is that their time with friends and family is now seemingly a distant memory, only to reoccur in April or possibly July. That’s a long haul to think about, so try to keep the festivities going. January is a great time for a team-building event, a potluck lunch, or to spend time talking with your team about memories from the holidays. If you can “keep the party going” in the minds of your staff, the moods and work performance will remain high, helping you to make significant ground on your team goals and objectives for the New Year.

Planning:

What’s your plan for 2013? Are there any significant challenges or changes that may be coming about later in the year? Well, if there are and you haven’t shared them, now is the time to do so. The degree of energy that exists immediately following the holidays is a great sounding board for change. The degree of receptivity is always high following holidays, and discussing the challenges and changes coming in the new year is a much smoother conversation when everyone still has that holiday twinkle in their eye. A warning for the wise, however; February is likely the worst month for introducing change, as the holidays are a distant memory and April is still a stretch goal. Spend some time in mid- to late-January discussing what’s on the agenda for the upcoming year; it’s a great way to plant the seeds for change while ensuring receptivity remains high.

Most importantly, if you are managing a team either directly or indirectly, make sure to stay motivated yourself! There is nothing that will kill a team’s morale faster than a bummed-out over stressed manager or leader. Apply these same principles above to your own preparation for 2013 and your employees (and your boss) will thank you for it!

© Shawn Casemore 2013. All rights reserved.

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