Usually, at this time of year, there seems to be more patients that need seeing, less time to concentrate on getting everything wrapped up before Christmas, and less time in the day. This can make for an exhausted team. I know I like to get on top of all my admin before the Christmas break, so I can go away feeling stress-free, but I often feel this time of year is like the storm before the calm! I need to make sure I make this time of year a good lead up to Christmas for my staff. After all, we all want them back after their Christmas holiday. What specifically do I do now to keep my team motivated and keep us all sane along the way?
Firstly, I have to say no to some invitations. I love getting invitations to things and it is good to catch up with people, but I do limit myself. Don’t get me wrong, I am not the Wagga socialite, I just choose which events I can attend and politely decline those that are pushing the ‘being too busy’ envelope.
Scheduling some downtime in the lead up to Christmas is not a bad idea. This year we closed for the afternoon for our Christmas lunch. Our get together finished at 3 o’clock, and people could go home early, get some shopping done, or meet up with other people. It was a good way to refresh everyone from a busy week and prepare for the next busy week. Allowing staff to leave a few hours early on their last day is such a nice way to wrap up the year.
Leading by example is crucial in busy times. Employees don’t want to feel their bosses are sitting in offices reading Christmas emails and chatting on the phone with people when they are out in the clinic working really hard. As a manager, at this time of year, I roll my sleeves up and get involved in the clinic. I ensure most of the important larger tasks are completed within two weeks of Christmas. I then schedule admin time early in the morning when I am feeling at my best and alert, and then when it gets busy, I help out seeing patients. Managers affect employees more than any other person in a practice or organisation. Make sure the leadership you provide is inspiring and positive. Bring some fun energy into the clinic area and let your staff know you are there to help lighten the load.
And of course, chocolates help at this time of year, fill up the staff kitchen with them!