Mindfulness: It’s the Key Quality Managers Need During the Holidays

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The holiday season is upon us, and many of us have been relishing the traditional cheer, treats, gifts and parties that accompany this time of year.

It’s likely we’ve been reflecting on, and giving thanks for, the joy in our lives, our family, friends and loved ones; or maybe we’ve been getting into the holiday spirit by donating to or helping out at our favorite philanthropic organizations.

These are effective trustworthy leader practices to embrace during the holidays, and practices that, realistically, we should attempt to embrace year-round!

The most stressful time of the year

For me, a specific practice comes to mind that we should give some serious extra “oomph” to during the holidays – mindfulness.

While practicing increased mindfulness during the holidays can be helpful for everyone, it’s an especially great practice for business and HR leaders.

With so much focus on holiday celebrations and cheer, it can be easy to miss that for some of our colleagues the holidays prove to be the most stressful or difficult time of year.

According to statistics from a poll by the American Psychological Association, 69 percent of people feel increased stress during the holidays from a perceived lack of time, 69 percent feel increased stress from a perceived lack of money, and 51 percent of respondents also experienced stress during the holidays from the perceived pressure to buy and give gifts.

Checking in with employees is important

While financial worry seems an obvious stress during the holidays, there are other stresses that the holiday season can amplify, such as feelings of loneliness or sadness (especially for those who may not have a strong support system or close-knit family). And during a time of year when we celebrate family and loved ones, it can be particularly difficult for those who have experienced loss.

Keeping this in mind, aim for increased mindfulness and awareness in your workplace this holiday season.

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Consider checking in with employees more frequently, whether it’s with a phone call, email, or an in-person visit. As we all know, sometimes something as simple as asking “how are you doing?” can brighten a day. Also consider making sure lines of communication are extra clear.

It’s important to remember that no matter how someone may appear, we can never assume what is going on in their life. If you’re willing to help or have tools and resources and available for employees in need, make this known.

Reminding workers that help is out there

Reminding employees that their Employee Assistance Programs are easily accessible could encourage those who need support to seek it out. Asking for assistance can be difficult or feel shameful, and knowing that someone is willing to help could mean the difference between obtaining assistance, and suffering in silence.

Though “tis the season,” we’re not necessarily exempt from stress, and the holidays may even be amplifying worry. Perhaps it’s feeling a little anxiety about what the final year-end financial results will look like, or that the 2014 budget isn’t as perfect as we’d like, maybe it’s serious financial stress, or maybe there’s no stress at all.

Whatever the case may be, work to be the true trustworthy leader who brings an increased mindfulness to your colleagues, your friends and family, and those around you this holiday season.

This originally appeared on China Gorman’s blog at ChinaGorman.com.

China Gorman is a successful global business executive in the competitive Human Capital Management (HCM) sector. She is a sought-after consultant, speaker and writer bringing the CEO perspective to the challenges of building cultures of humanity for top performance and innovation, and strengthening the business impact of Human Resources.

Well known for her tenure as CEO of the Great Place to Work Institute, COO and interim CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and President of Lee Hecht Harrison, China works with HCM organizations all over the world to enhance their brands and their go-to-market strategies. Additionally, she serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Jobs for America’s Graduates as well as the Advisory Boards of Elevated Careers, the Workforce Institute at Kronos, and WorldBlu. Addtionally, she chairs the Globoforce WorkHuman Advisory Board and the Universum North America Board. China is the author of the popular blog Data Point Tuesday, and is published and frequently quoted in media properties like Fortune, TLNT, Huffington Post, Inc., Fast Company, U.S. News & World Report and many others.


1 Comment on “Mindfulness: It’s the Key Quality Managers Need During the Holidays

  1. Thank you for a great article China. It is a shame that the festive season (which should be all about peace and happiness), turned for many of us into a marathon of shopping and worrying. I like your reminder that we can turn to EAP or to supportive colleagues when we are stressed. Don’t you think that it is especially hard for parents who have to make sure that the kids are really happy?

    By the way, I created a very short mindfulness practice to use when dealing with stress at work (not only during Christmas period), and I hope you don’t mind me sharing it with your readers: http://www.mindwork.co/3-easy-steps-in-becoming-mindful-at-work

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