Amid the festivities leading up to the New Year, look out for fragile smiles. For some, it’s a time of stress, end-of-year deadlines, stretched finances and thoughts of those missing from their lives.
Inevitably, it becomes a moment to reflect on another year gone by. We don’t always like what we see. 21 per cent of us are driven to self-improvement, but 90 per cent of us give up on our New Year’s resolutions half-way into the year. Doing things differently – inspiring and sustaining change – is hard work.
So where does that leave senior leaders so often challenged to ‘be the change’ they want to see? Prioritising wellbeing is an opportunity to demonstrate leadership, to bring the team together and to share a vision – an audacious dream bursting with possibility. If you work for Disney it’s to ‘make people happy’. Google wants to ‘organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ while NIKE seeks to ‘bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world’ with the caveat that ‘if you have a body, you are an athlete’. In short, if you want to do things differently, speak up now, while the team is primed.
Here are some practical things you can do in the meantime to optimise your team’s wellbeing:
• Realise you may be exacerbating stress. Do what you can to alleviate tasks, or push back on unrealistic demands on their behalf
• While it’s important to acknowledge and reflect on the reasons things don’t always go to plan, you want the team to return to work with positive anticipation for the New Year. It might feel cheesy, but take time to call out a particular contribution that they’ve made
• Let your team create their own Christmas ‘wish’ list and have a say about what might be beneficial to them over the festive period. It could, for example, be to take a flexible approach to working hours in the week before Christmas.