HR Management

How Leaders Can Save Employees (and Themselves) from Overwhelm in the New Year

Transitioning from one year to the next can be hectic, not only for families but also for businesses focused on new revenue goals, project completions and 2018 planning. Chances are, everyone in your organization is feeling the pressure after taking off for the holidays to get back into the swing of things as quickly and efficiently as possible.overwhelmed

This time of year doesn’t have to be a detriment for businesses, however. It can present opportunities for teams to unite in new ways and connect on a more personal level. Leaders will need to focus on providing support and potentially shifting priorities during this exciting time of change.

Here are some tips that will help you and your team handle the stress of the New Year:

1. Be Flexible

Be open to the possibility of more remote work, flex hours and other scheduling requests. As always, it’s important for leaders to be mindful of individual differences and be supportive of their employees.

While ensuring quality work is getting done, be flexible where you can be. It will benefit not only your employees, but also the goals of your organization. Understand that it may take some time to reset to a more regular work cadence, and it’s important to have conversations with individual employees about their changing needs.

2. Prioritize

Discuss the following your team: What’s the most important thing we should be talking about right now, and where do we need to focus our energy? What is priority, and what can wait?

A new year always seems like an ideal time to start new projects or take on more work, but it’s important to not get in over your head. There’s always room for creativity, but now may not be the time to introduce extensive projects on top of existing workloads. Work together to focus on what’s most important for organizational goals, and what new ideas make sense to implement now versus those that can be incorporated throughout the year.

3. Delegate

Re-orienting in the New Year is a perfect time to engage your team members to help get things done. Effective delegation provides opportunities for both employees and leaders to grow, while simultaneously building trust and accountability. Identify team members or colleagues who either have experience with tasks that need delegating or who have shown interest in taking on new tasks.

Clearly outline the level of decisions they can make around each item and how you would like those decisions communicated. It’s important for everyone to be clear on who is accountable as these changes in delegation are made.

4. Express Gratitude

Although gratitude should be practiced 365 days a year, expressing some extra gratitude at the start of the year can go a long way. When other people show appreciation for what we’re doing, we’re able to reconnect with why we’re doing it.

Personally and individually show appreciation for the people you work with. Acknowledge their efforts and their achievements throughout the previous year. Have brief one-on-ones to discuss goals for the year and what they hope to achieve, whether it’s greater work life balance or getting that sought-after promotion. Understanding the needs or your employers is critical and how you can support them is critical, and this is a great time to take action in doing so.

5. Plan as a Team

As we move into the new business year, team conversations will be critical. Leaders will need to invite perspective, promote collaboration, and assure everyone is heard before making decisions that will affect the entire team or organization.

At Fierce, we use the “beach ball” model presented in our team program. Imagine that every employee has a “stripe” on the beach ball–everyone owns a piece of the truth of an organization, and every stripe needs to be considered before the best decision can be reached.  Consider adopting this method in the New Year as a team, and discuss new strategies or methods that can help strengthen performance.

As your organization dives into 2018, it’s imperative for leaders to support employees as these changes unfold. Every tip presented here is facilitated by skillful conversations on behalf of leadership—conversations that take into consideration the needs of everyone involved, deepens our relationships and drives results.

And most importantly, as a leader, don’t forget to take care of yourself.

As the head of international expansion and learning, Chris Douglas is building a global network of top-tier training companies and Authorized Providers who share the philosophies of Fierce. Chris is a visionary who believes that Fierce offers 21st century solutions to leadership challenges. She works with clients to overcome the challenges of a global audience, pushes boundaries that limit results, and builds far-reaching organizational strategies.