What Compassionate Leaders Know About the Holiday Season

wreathThe end of the year is upon us, temperatures have dropped, stores are filling up and so are our schedules. People are focused on closing out projects, wrapping up obligations and meeting the added demands of holiday stress. To maximize the potential of the people in our charge, compassionate leaders need to consider a few points while navigating their teams through this season:

Make room for extra Life
I always tell my project management students and clients to “make room for life” in their project schedules. Well, no time is this more true than during the Holidays. Suddenly your expert has had to run to the airport to pick up his mom,
or his daughter has a program at school. Schedules change, children have programs, relatives arrive, and personal schedules really pick up, so make room for the extra responsibilities. With Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s all occupying the same season, it’s no wonder people get partied out. So, instead of dreading the Holiday season schedule, plan for it.

Keep the light on.
This time of year marks a time of jubilant celebration for many, but not everyone on your team is rejoicing right now. On the contrary, this may be a very dark time for members of your team who have lost loved ones. The holiday season can be a painful reminder of loss and create a roller coaster of
emotions. So how can you help? Chances are you can’t (unless you are a trained therapist), and this leaves people feeling helpless and unsure of what to say or do. But you can be sensitive to not further the hurt, and provide the compassion their hurting heart needs. Privately acknowledging how your team member might feel is an important step in removing the isolation that can come and will help shine light in the dark time.

People have a different “Reason for the Season”
As a Christian, I believe that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”, and you may, too. But, chances are not everyone on your team believes this. Compassionate leaders accept that people have
different belief systems, and they should all be able to express them. That’s what makes diversity so wonderful. Since US-based companies have Christmas off as a holiday, it’s not uncommon to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, after all, everyone will likely be able to enjoy the holiday, however they choose to spend that day. Have an internationally diverse team? Consider a Traditions around the World theme for your holiday celebration.

So go ahead, drink a gallon of egg nog, eat a pound of cookies, and spend way too much. However you celebrate the season, consider the ideas above to help you do so while considering the feelings of those you lead to excellence.

Why I Cruise

Cruise ships in portI discovered cruising in 2005 after going with family to celebrate a milestone birthday (it was my uncle’s 50th). We went on a 5-day cruise out of Galveston, TX on the Carnival Ecstasy and at first I was nervous and worried that I’d be bored. It was just the opposite. This itinerary made two stops; one in Cozumel, Mexico and then Progress (also Mexico) and we had a blast.  It was my husband and our youngest son who was just 2 1/2 at the time.  He spent most of his waking hours in the comfort of the Camp Carnival playroom, while we enjoyed the adult fun on the Lido deck. When we would pick him up for dinner (or a lunch break) he almost ran from us. Not because he doesn’t love us, but because he was having so much fun. It was a May cruise and there weren’t as many kids as there are in the summer months, so he had his choice of toys and was the entertainment for the au pairs on board. Before the trip ended, we were asking ourselves when were we going again. And so the rest is history…this summer will mark our 10th year of cruising every year (except one).

STUMBLING THROUGH THE DARKNESS

One of my favorite movies is Ray, the feature film about Ray Charles. When Ray Charles was about five years old, he developed glaucoma and gradually became blind. One of the most pivotal scenes in the movie occurs in his mom’s home. He was stumbling around the humble shack in the darkness and began to get frustrated. He sat there and cried out to his mother who sat in the chair crying, wishing she could just take it away. But she knew it was best that he learn how to navigate this situation. He knew she was there because he could hear her breathing and crying, so he knew he was not alone. Before long, he began to move around the house, using his touch and hearing, which were both heightened by his loss of sight. She could have sprung out of her chair to “rescue” him, but instead she lovingly watched and cried as he listened for a grasshopper and made his way over to it. As he picked it up, he smiled and began to clearly hear all the other sounds in the background.
We often visualize God as a doting parent, there to pick us up at the first sign of trouble. While this image is comforting, it’s not a full depiction of God’s true nature and “parenting style”. There are times when God will rescue us, but there are times when He will lovingly sit and cry while we navigate dark seasons of our lives. The important thing to note is that He is there, watching and loving us as we work our way through the revelations that come from the darkness. In the darkness, we can hear things we wouldn’t hear, and smell things we wouldn’t otherwise smell. And most importantly, we would learn the things we wouldn’t have otherwise learned. There is always a purpose for the darkness.

THE BASKETBALL GOAL

I had several errands to run today, but one of the most important of them was to buy another basketball goal for our backyard.  Yes, we have active boys (down to only 2 since our eldest 2 are “grown”) and they will both die if they can’t play.  Nevermind that it’s 100 degrees outside (we live in Houston).  But the reality is, I’m replacing the goal because our backyard basketball court is where we do ministry.  Youth ministry, marriage ministry, family ministry.  Over the past 11 years that we have been in our house, we have never not had a basketball goal.  It was a place that my husband and I would unwind and talk after a long day at work.  As the kids got older, it was a teaching ground for them.  Not just for dribbling, but for life.  Have you ever tried to get a teenage boy to open up about his feelings?  Well, put a basketball in his hand and offer to rebound for him and you can get instant conversation.  My husband has utilized this parenting technique with our boys, which has contributed to me spending more time watching them out the back window than actually playing with them.  Despite the fact that I’m no good at basketball (always been a runner, not too good with ball-sports), I enjoy playing with them.  I enoy the activity, but most importantly, I enjoy the time with my boys.  With their age differences, it is only in the past year or so that my husband and I can sit back and watch them play 2 on 2.  It is always fun watching our oldest (and most defiant) use the game to teach life lessons to his younger brothers.  And as I remind them often, God cares about basketball…it is sometimes just another way to bring His children together.

So, today I purchased our second goal in a year.  The previous one fell on it’s face because the water drained out of a leak in the base.  That goal sitting on the concrete slab like that looks like disaster has struck our house.  And in a way, it has.  The pasttime that has glued my family together for years is on hold until the assemblers come.  I hope they get here quick.

Welcome

Welcome to The Ms. Engineer Way website and blog! Whether you have heard me speak, read one of my books, or attended one of my workshops, you will find ways here to stay connected and keep growing. I am a multi-faceted person, and my blog reflects that. I am passionate about helping people live (and work) with passion, purpose, and perseverance. And since most people spend the majority of their waking hours at work, I like to start there! If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

All that palll_picssion stuff sounds great in a perfect world. But we live in a broken world, full of broken people. So while I’m helping you create that dream work place, I want to help you move past some things that may be holding you back. What do I know about pushing past hurt and brokenness? Read Love is a Catalyst to find out. I pray that it blesses you, and that the strength God blessed me with can be of some service to you. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I speak, that’s why I write. That’s why I love!

Whether you stopped by to find insights and strategies for healing, leading through change, or family matters, you can use the navigation on the side to find what you’re looking for.