NEW YORK, Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The last two weeks of the year don't have to be the slowest time of the year, according to Mary Pender Greene, a New York City psychotherapist, relationship expert and career coach.
"It is unfortunate that some people might put their personal lives and problems ahead of their business concerns," said Pender Greene. "When you factor in the tremendous pressures and stresses that come with the holidays, it is surprising any business gets done at all. But that doesn't have to be the case."
In fact, slowdowns at this time of year might be a myth. A recent survey by Accountemps found that 32 percent of 300 executives surveyed had employees who were actually more productive while 44 percent noticed no difference in productivity.
"Productive offices might be the result of managers who find proactive ways to prevent difficult situations with problem employees," said Pender Greene.
"Managers need to know how to handle people who have high stress during the holidays if they are going to run profitable businesses," she said. "It is an unfortunate fact of life that during the holiday season, some people get depressed and lonely, fight with their significant others over money and can't put a wall between their personal lives and their business responsibilities."
Here are effective tips that managers can often use to make sure their employees give their all during the holidays.
1. Be firm but understanding. Let employees know that you feel their pain, but that their work needs to be done. Demonstrate your empathy by giving them extra time to do holiday shopping during their lunch break.
2. Tell them it is okay to ask for help if they are overwhelmed. By setting flexible parameters, managers can help employees control their emotions and stop them from taking their frustrations out on customers and colleagues.
3. Make schedules. If individuals know what they need to do and when they need to do it, their stress is often reduced. This can apply to work that has to get done and orders that need to be filled, as well as personal tasks.
4. Maximize team performance. Get in touch with your own work patterns first. For example, you may like to handle complaints in the morning and do emails in the afternoon. That is fine but understand if co-workers do things differently. Managers should appreciate workforce variances and work with them. Your positive attitude will empower your employees and increase their productivity.
5. Be diplomatic. Brush up on the best ways to give criticism. A business relationship that took years to build can be destroyed in seconds by overly harsh feedback. Remember that people's emotions can be rough at this time of the year -- even if they hide it well. Managers should be very careful when giving evaluations or responding to complaints.
6. Practice good communication. This should be done all year long, but especially now. Do you ask questions? Do you listen? That's good. But if you order people around instead and ignore their suggestions then maybe it is time for you to rethink your approach.
7. Set daily goals to keep people focused. During the holidays it is all too easy for workers to worry about shopping, family relationships, travel and more. If managers keep people focused on daily tasks and goals, employees might be more attentive to their work.
8. Be realistic. Understand that some people will be unable to control their emotions and will bring their personal stress into the workplace. In that case, you need to have a plan. Consider consulting with a workplace relationship expert.
"It all comes down to relationships," said Pender Greene, who is also a career coach. "Office productivity can still be high, even if a worker is stressed."
About Mary Pender Greene, LCSW-R, Psychotherapist
Mary Pender Greene is internationally known as a psychotherapist and relationship expert. She focuses on the relationship with oneself and how it impacts relationships with others. Ms. Pender Greene educates people about choosing mates and identifying relationship patterns. She believes that relationships should be carefully selected, analyzed, nurtured and sometimes dismissed.
She maintains a private practice in New York City serving individuals and couples. She also provides career coaching and development -- with a special focus on women in leadership.
She has been featured on: Good Day NY/Fox 5; Live at Five/NBC News; Eyewitness News/ABC; NY1/Time Warner; the New York Post; Newsday; Redbook Magazine; Essence Magazine and numerous others.
For information, visit her website http://www.marypendergreene.com
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SOURCE Mary Pender Greene