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Enjoy the party; but also think of those staying behind, holding the fort.

Source | LinkedIn : By Jagdish Murthy- Performance Strategist and Executive Coach

While you are all set for a well deserved vacation with family and friends far away from work, let’s spare a thought for those who have to stay back and keep the place going. Hold the fort, so to speak.

Our childhood memories may include times when as children we were not allowed to go out and play even as all other kids were. And the sounds of fun and laughter that came in so clear and loud just added to the misery !

Ever felt bad at being left out while others were enjoying themselves? That’s possibly the way some tasked to stay back may feel.

While most managers would take care to cover stuff like providing clarity on roles, communications, & escalations with the stay back team, emotionally intelligent leaders would be sensitive to their feelings.

What can we as emotionally intelligent leaders do for those ‘on duty’?

  • Clearly communicate why some have to stay behind, even as others are on vacation.
  •  To avoid “why me?” questions, make the roster system as fair and transparent, and publish the roster as early as possible, so that people can plan accordingly.
  • Organize a pre- vacation celebration for the entire team
  •  Single out those who would be staying back and emphasize the value their presence brings to the organization especially during vacation time.
  •   Demonstrate empathy – let the team know that you have been in their shoes and have had the experience of holding fort – similar to what they are now being tasked to do. This gives you the moral right to talk about the situation.
  •  Check if you can add some zing to their daily routine. Could they order special food? Is there anything you, as their leader can do to add some fun at work?

Upon return from vacation

While you would have come back rejuvenated, now is the time for you as a leader to demonstrate the bigheartedness which is inherent to leadership.

  •   Seek out those who stayed back and thank them.
  • Bringing back gifts for them means that you remembered. I fondly recall my boss RVS, bringing back a bottle of Jack Daniels for me after a tour. Cheers !
  • Your first team email of the New Year could include an appreciation of those individuals who stayed back by name
  • Expedite company policy if any, which entitles them to something special
  • Depending upon your personal philosophy and organization culture, have a meal in the cafeteria or consider hosting a party for these select few. I would.

Such gestures show people that they actually count, are part of the team and are not forgotten. That all this is not mere symbolism or ‘corporatese’ but is actually meant.

These acts create a great sense of belonging and engagement in the team and consequent high levels of performance. But even more than this, a leader who shows consideration for others, shows character.

Read On….

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