While the busy growing and shipping season can be intoxicatingly exciting, it also brings added expectations, pressure and stress. Your employees take their cues from you. If you are anxious, grumpy and running around frantically, they will be, too. If you are gracious, having fun and cheerful, your staff will mirror that as well. As the leader goes, so goes the team.
Keep your cool this busy season and empower your staff to excel with the following tips.
- Take care of yourself physically. If you want to perform at your best and keep your cool when everything around you is heating up, get plenty of rest, eat properly and stay hydrated. In addition, avoid the temptation to burn the candle at both ends as it will significantly increase your risk for burnout and illness, decrease your efficiency, and lessen your tolerance for frustration.
- Encourage your employees to take care of themselves as well. Maximize their productivity by ensuring they take breaks and making it easy for them to stay hydrated and fueled up with healthy snacks. Lastly, insist that everyone, yourself included, take at least one day off per week in order to reenergize and return ready and raring to go.
- Fill your tank. Just as your car needs gasoline to keep running, your soul needs pockets of fun in order to be reminded that life is more than work and problems, especially during the busy season. Fill your tank and create much needed reserves by regularly engaging in activities that make you happy. Enjoying life empowers you to keep your energy and optimism high, and gives you a buffer from the frustrations that inevitably arise this time of year.
- Focus on the good. It’s easy to get tunnel vision and key in on problems and what’s going wrong. Counter balance the tendency to do this by daily compiling a list of at least three things that are going well. Doing so will provide you with a more accurate assessment of what’s going on and help you better appreciate your employees. Share this with your staff as well.
- Address problems as they arise. It’s easy for tempers to flare during the busy season. Unfortunately, things can get said that can’t be taken back and that quickly erode trust, confidence and morale. One of the best ways to keep your cool is to prevent anger from building up in the first place. If someone isn’t pulling their weight, talk with them instead of letting it go until you say something you’ll regret. If you’re frustrated, ask for what you need rather than making a cutting or sarcastic remark. If someone is chronically late, set the expectation that things need done on time and follow through on the boundary you set.
- Cut yourself and others some slack. While it’s never okay to take your anger out on others, you are human and the busy season can bring out the worst in the best of us. Perfection isn’t what it takes to be a great leader. Genuinely caring about your people, a willingness to fess up when you mess up, doing what it takes to make things right, and working every bit as hard as they do is what earns lasting respect and admiration.
Being proactive enables you stay at the top of your game and empowers you to bring out the best in those you lead all year through.
Dr. Sherene McHenry, the author of Pick: Choose to Create A Life You Love, is passionate about creating healthier relationships and better bottom lines. www.sherenemchenry.com.