Hard as it is to believe, the holiday season is fast upon us once again! Things seem to move at whirlwind speeds as everyone tries to squeeze in last-minute projects at work and at home. My virtual team is divvied up between Minnesota and Colorado, and one thing we recently made room for was a face-to-face holiday party. And I’m so glad we did. Getting together as friends and colleagues under joyous circumstances is the best eggnog around—and it’s the perfect reinforcement of a leadership lesson that can get lost in the maelstrom of daily life:

Connection is key.

Whether you’re in a brick-and-mortar organization or a virtual one, connection is the most valuable contribution you can make as a leader. Connecting certainly comes through the support, direction, and encouragement you give during regular meetings and impromptu get-togethers. But connecting occasionally just for fun is essential to team morale. The most successful and memorable team events are those where you share an experience that allows bonding to happen naturally.

Don’t begrudge the office holiday party that comes amid deadlines and deliverables; it’s an investment in connection that pays off in countless ways!

To celebrate a great year and the holiday season, the EPI Minnesota team attended The Danger Committee’s comedy show. The day was full of nerve-racking anticipation and belly laughs as we watched them perform fire juggling and knife throwing! And next month, I look forward to celebrating the kickoff to 2020 with the EPI crew in Colorado. It’s impossible to put a price on the laughter and joy we experience when we’re together in the same room.

Connecting to your team—with humor, compassion, and empathy—helps provide a calm center during the busy holiday storm.

As leaders, we should be the eye of the hurricane, not the cause of it.

Being the eye doesn’t mean complete stillness, but our open and compassionate leadership can provide a necessary respite from the storm.

Make allowances for the fact that at this time of year everyone is busier and more stressed out than usual. Encourage your team to take the time to collectively connect on a personal level. It reminds them that they’re important to you as human beings. By blowing off a little steam together, everyone can recalibrate and regroup, then go back to work refreshed, happier, and ultimately more productive. You may even find that the collective brain break leads to a few creative breakthroughs.

At EPI we often remind our client partners that it’s all about the people . . . and sometimes I also have to remind myself. Be the eye of the storm for your people—at work and at home—and let your calm, mindful presence be the best present you give this year!

Happy Holidays from all of us to all of you!

Photo of EPI CEO Michelle Kelly with Santa Hat

Michelle Kelly, CEO (Chief Enjoyment Officer)

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