Well gang, here we are… smack dab in the middle of December… you know, that month where most of us try to cram about three months worth of activity into 31 holiday-filled days. Yep, that’s the one. Chances are, you and your staff are working hard to complete end-of-the-year projects (in addition to your “regular” workload), carve out extra time for a host of tasks that contribute your goals for holiday cheer, participate in a range of gatherings with family and friends, and of course allow enough space to focus on the real Reason for the season. If you’re not careful, the sheer volume of activity and expectations can overwhelm your best intentions and those of the people you hope to lead. So what’s the best strategy for modeling December Leadership?
- A time for every task.
Especially during this month, untethered items on a to-do list tend to grow in our minds and zap our energy. It is like a constant low drone of “gotta get done, gotta get done, gotta get done.” The simple act of scheduling time for specific tasks allows you to remove them from your brain until the appointed hour. (Really… give it a try!)
- Focus on the moment, not the list.
Then, give the current task or activity your full energy and attention. If other things start to creep into your brain, intentionally stop, remind yourself when you will focus on that item, and then bring your focus back to the here and now. Work projects will be completed more quickly, social gatherings aren’t weighed down by anticipatory worry, and you can truly enjoy time spent with family, friends and special traditions.
- Talk slower, and look people in the eye.
When you appear rushed or distracted, you transfer that stress onto those with whom you are interacting, and really, that is not the gift they are hoping to receive from you this month. There may be times where you feel a bit like a duck (you know… when you look like you’re gliding through the water but under the surface you’re paddling like crazy), but even then, gliding feels better than frantically splashing about and as a result you will feel calmer, too.
- Whenever possible, stick to the routine.
It may feel like you don’t have time for those activities that have helped center you the other eleven months of the year — be that exercise, healthy eating, time for reflection — but it just might be those very things that make it easier for you to accommodate all of the extra stuff we want to fit into the month.
- Remember… he’s watching you…
Okay, maybe you are long past believing in Santa, but you can rest assured your people are watching you. You set the tone for how to not just endure, but to truly embrace this month in all its glory. That, my friends, is December Leadership.