How to Make the Most of the Festive Season to Strengthen your Working Relationships

It is that time of the year!

It’s wonderful, it’s festive, everyone feels more disposed to kindness and good deeds. We are constantly bombarded with adverts that emotionally stimulate us to buy  something for somebody. We even buy gifts to those we don’t really like, directly (Secret Santa) or indirectly (box of chocolate or mince pies for sharing in the office). We even go to lunch with people we hardly speak to, just because is the team’s Christmas lunch, we can’t say no!!! That will be terrible, it will look so bad!!!

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We get so involved with the Christmas spirit that we found ourselves responding to what would regularly be an upsetting situation saying: ‘Look, I won’t make a fuss about it because it’s Christmas!!!’

The uncompromising characters of some of my friends will reject this observation, but the generalised behaviour responds to this marvellous and contagious social convention. For at least four weeks in the year there is an extremely precious opportunity for everyone to be good and feel good. It’s the expectation!!!

December is also one of the most busy months: appraisal reviews, budget reviews, holidays booking, covers to arrange, end of year targets to achieve, new year targets to set etc, etc… so leaders and managers have a great opportunity here to strengthen the ties with their teams to deepen working relationships and improve teams’ dynamics.

Here some strategies that can be easily introduced:

  1. look back at the year just passed to assess teams’ performances and relationships. As leader and manager you are aware of the strength and weakness of your team so make a list of behaviours, skills or approaches that have been successful and those which have caused issues, failures or break-ups in relationship and decide which one you wish to promote and which one you wish to improve upon.
  2. develop fruitful coaching conversations around the topics you have chosen and encourage teams to make suggestions on how to move forward looking at 2016. The idea is to get them thinking about what they have learned in the past year about the team, the management, the organisation, the processes and systems and to identify new approaches for improvement.
  3. you can organise a charity project where the whole team is involved to generate an outcome that is not specifically related to work but to a good cause. Working together to support a charitable cause will promote a spirit of camaraderie, will put things into perspective and can generate more understanding towards each other.
  4. this is the time for giving, decide what you can give to your teams to show your appreciation of them as individuals and their commitment to the work and the organisation. Be creative and impress them, don’t stop at the chocolate box or Christmas card. Make your gift worthwhile and personal, it is you as their manager and leader, show your personal touch!!!

Here is a recommendation from me to you: Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives, but it could also be an ideal gift to your managers.As the authors say in the introduction to this new edition, coaching is the methodology that allow us to work with change, on a personal, organisational and relationship level. The book contains useful exercises, questions and ideas that can be easily implemented in the short term.

I wish you a lovely and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

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