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Monica Wofford is a leadership development expert with 25 years of experience and a fun loving sense of humor. Learn how to become a better leader through her coaching, speaking or books, or by working with her training firm of Contagious Companies. For more information, go to www.ContagiousCompanies.com or call 1-866-382-0121.

Are they actually working this time of year or fulfilling a common leadership fear that performance virtually shuts down when Santa is coming to town?

The holidays are here and this time of year either you’re so busy you’ve forgotten your own name, or so bored you or your team are surfing the internet to create your superhero name. (here’s the link just in case! ) In either circumstance, how do you continue to motivate those employees lead when there are four million bright shiny lights that seem to compete with your direction? Those most susceptible to loss of attention and focus this time of year are the very personality who have likely decorated their cube in holiday gear, worn their favorite reindeer sweater for holiday cheer, and can’t stay on task no matter what consequence you provide and think they will fear. Today’s Monday Moment will help you focus, keep them playful, and help to manage their activities so they remain productive.

Shorten Your List

It’s not about whose naughty or nice at the office. The list to which I refer is about what they need to get done, but this time of year, the shorter the list, the better. Limit the scope of your expectations for those with a more playful and less focused attention span to one to three items, much like a concise strategic plan. Avoid the temptation to overload them with details, thus creating a meltdown that might slow their performance even further. If you want them to accomplish a few key important things, make sure the list is also focused and managed appropriately. And as an added benefit or spin, find ways to put those items on the list that include the people in your midst. Perhaps there is a committee meeting you need them to lead, an initial project meeting for them to conduct at which their skills would ensure they succeed, or presents for other employees that need to be delivered. This naturally engaging and enthused personality will respond well to those items that include other people in their day to day holiday routine.

Lengthen Your Patience

If your workplace and workflow is “crazy busy” during the holiday season, the already easily distracted and disorganized personality may worsen their behavior temporarily. The simple stress of this joyous season overloads even the most organized of managers and if an employee is the more fun-loving type, their focus may be more on not getting left out instead of making sure the details get done. Be patient. Don’t throw in the entire towel and assume nothing will be accomplished during the end of the year, but recognize that their motivation of getting appreciation will easily be swayed by other opportunities than the typical customer engagement. Perhaps have a conversation with them about how to make the most of client relationships during social gatherings and how to keep their professionalism in check at any and all holiday parties. And of course, if this isn’t your natural personality or style, accept their differences and continue to lengthen your own patience.

Have Fun With This

People tell me nothing is more fun than Christmas with little kids in the house. This year will be the first in a long time in which I get to have this experience. I suspect it’s quite true to watch the sparkle in their eye and abundant joy on Christmas morning. Will it be exhausting to keep up with a four-year olds energy? Of course, but the point is to have fun with it and see the world through their eyes. The same is true if you have a playful, energetic, fun loving employee who seemingly bounces off the walls, sings every Christmas carol, and drives you crazy with their motion detecting singing Santa you trip every time you walk by their desk. Have fun with this and think of the playful energy you might be able to reconnect with during the experience.

I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great week, an even better Monday, and of course, stay contagious!

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