The last “trick-or-treater” was barely off the porch and the world around us seemed to immediately turn to scenes of Christmas. Store decorations magically changed overnight, the radio began the never-ending rounds of carols, and people in workplaces all over the land seemed to slow down a bit and begin planning holiday outings.

So, what is a leader to do about all this holiday distraction?

First, embrace it. Sometimes as leaders we seek to control things that simply can’t – and arguably shouldn’t—be controlled. Trying to stop all of the holiday distraction will simply frustrate you. In fact, trying to completely control just about any aspect of your work environment will frustrate you… and your team. Instead, embrace the fact that parties will be planned … and some online shopping will get done during work hours. Rather than focusing on time lost, focus on the results your team is providing. If results are occurring, the hours put into achieving them become irrelevant.

Second, keep doing whatever you’ve been doing to engage people the rest of the year. Employee engagement doesn’t rise and fall simply because of a holiday season. Your employees are more involved whenever the following qualities exist in the workplace:

  1. Individual work is linked to a bigger “why.” It’s more than a great video from Simon Sinek,understanding the “why” is integral to engagement. Engagement is higher in employees who know the bigger picture of their business’s priorities and how the tasks they are performing day-to-day fit into those priorities.

  2. Employee development is a true focus, not a “check-the-box” HR program. Employees want to know that their company truly not just cares about, but also plans for, their personal development. This development includes identifying career paths, having formal training programs, but also importantly, providing informal development in the form of stretch assignments and cross-functional teams.

  3. Leaders are confident in their own abilities and thus are comfortable sharing information and feedback with employees. The relationship a person has with their immediate supervisor is one of the biggest predictors of whether that person will be satisfied with their work and, in turn, their company. Great company leaders don’t leave this relationship to chance for each individual leader to manage on his or her own. Train and develop this transparency and trust in your leadership team by tying these positive behaviors to their performance management. Provide executive coaching services for your leaders to help them better lead their employees and thus increase engagement and business outcomes.

Focusing on these tips will help get you through the holidays and into the New Year with a more focused team ready to make resolutions. If you aren’t doing these things already and want to know how to start, give us a call.

Magnet Consulting, a Certified Women-Owned strategic HR consulting firm that focuses on employee selection, leadership development, and organizational culture, also facilitates The Mettle Foundry Development Center. For more information on Magnet Consulting, visit