As we approach the end of what has been a difficult year, the uncertainty of what lies ahead in 2021 can trigger feelings of anxiety for many. The holiday season (perhaps even with a lockdown) has the potential to further exasperate and trigger depression in individuals.

You may be wondering what you, as leadership, can do to support staff through this difficult time.

Checking in on the pulse of your staff is critical as it provides insight not only in how to lead effectively but also how to do it with the ethos of care. Of course, having the pulse of the staff alone is not enough. Developing strategies that address these concerns is crucial.

Let’s face it though, it’s not easy always being the positive one, trying to lift the spirits of others, when there is so much uncertainty. The analogy of the airplane comes to mind. Just as you need to put on your mask before you can help put it on anyone else, this applies here too.

It’s okay to share that you also are worried and struggle at home (you probably aren’t the only one dreading the thought of spending 24/7 with those at home when they are already driving you nuts!) – but why not ask others to share any ideas of what they will be doing. Be mindful of those that are alone or caregivers who don’t get much of a break, during this difficult time.

Perhaps organize a drive by outside the homes of those that you are worried about! Even a surprise delivery with goodies can lift spirits of those that are down. Love singing carols (or popular ballads)? Perhaps a socially distanced gathering in the park or outside the boss’s place, may be a lighthearted and fun way to get together and celebrate togetherness by singing songs (or at least trying to).

No need to take this all on, yourself. There may be individuals on your teams that love organizing events and would jump at the opportunity (yeah, you know who I’m talking about)!

By taking care of your teams, you are creating an environment that will allow them to thrive. When people feel supported, they want to stay, they want to succeed, and they want to do it because they value being a part of the organization.

Don’t forget to reflect and celebrate the achievements that took place this year. Hard to think of any? Why not ask for staff to share those of their own and/or those of their colleagues in your check in surveys. Ending on a positive note is a great way to end 2020 and bring in 2021.

~ Fauzia Moorani, Ignite Collaboration Educator