Supporting Your Team During Peak Seasons
Supporting your team during peak season some would agree is common sense. The first step is recognizing the patterns and other risk factors in your industry that are going to cause your team more stress. This stress can be detrimental to your team’s mental, emotional, and even physical health that will impede their ability to engage effectively.
Proactively Identify Strain
Our moving and storage business was based in Texas and there’s one thing you can count on in Texas – HOT summers! Triple-digit temperatures are common in our part of the country.
Here’s another fact: The busy season for the moving industry is in the summer months when kids are out of school. Peak demand during extreme temperatures makes for a stressful moving season!
Prolonged, stressful situations create risks to our teams and challenges for effective leadership. When our people are burdened with unusual demands, they can get burned out physically and emotionally. It’s up to us, as leaders, to recognize the risks and take steps to address the situation before it becomes an even larger issue.
With some thoughtful attention, every leader can identify these periods of strain and proactively help his or her people handle the extra demands on their minds and bodies.
Drink Before You’re Thirsty
When I was the CEO of our moving business, I understood that the moving season created a sort of perfect storm with high demand for our services coupled with extremely hot temperatures. Consequently, I started to broadcast this simple message each May as we prepared for the summer season: “Drink before you’re thirsty and eat before you’re hungry.” My reasoning was simple: If our people don’t take care of themselves physically, then they will risk physical harm to themselves and others. Additionally, they’re at risk of getting burned out mentally and losing their ability to serve our customers best.
In Matthew 10:42, we see Jesus look to serving the needs of his people and true hospitality when he states,
“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
After seeing some folks on our crews start the day with soda and sugar-laden snacks from a convenience store, we took tangible steps to help our people during this critical time of the year. We provided our moving crews with large jugs of water or sports drinks to help keep them hydrated on the job. We also provided fruit each morning for the crews to take with them out on the jobs so they could eat it throughout the day.
Recognizing Peak Seasons to Support Your Team
There’s a wider application here. Any business can be subject to these perfect storms where market conditions place our people in stressful situations. Think about accountants. Every year tax season puts significant burdens on the entire staff of accounting firms. This is the type of situation that begs a leader to proactively serve the acute needs of his or her people. The partners of an accounting firm might provide a mandatory cookout in a nearby park. A simple event like this would get the harried staff out of their seats and away from their computer screens for a short amount of time. The stress relief would likely be felt throughout the office.
In a church, the liturgical calendar, and specific holidays such as Christmas and Easter always demand more involvement for your leadership team and congregation. How do you prepare preemptively for these seasons? How do you encourage, partner with, and serve them in these seasons?
The Effects of Stress
In recent years stress has skyrocketed, causing more than three-quarters of adults to report symptoms of stress, including headache, tiredness, or sleeping problems (American Psychological Association, 2019). Eighty percent of U.S. workers say they experience stress on the job (American Institute of Stress). We see that we cannot escape stress, but we can start to work towards serving our people in order to help them manage their stress. Nearly half of all U.S. adults (49%) say that stress has negatively affected their behavior and work (American Psychological Association, 2020).
We cannot eliminate our people’s stress completely. However, we can look towards the seasons and patterns at work that might increase your people’s responsibility and stress response. This awareness will help you support your team and serve them more effectively.
The Benefits of Supporting Your Team
What are the benefits of helping employees make healthy choices with their eating, drinking, and stress management?
- It helps signal to your people that you care for them.
- Their self-esteem will increase just knowing they have healthier bodies and people who support them and want to see them at their best.
- They will enjoy their work more and become more productive because they have less anxiety and stress.
Maybe for your business, church, non-profit, or educational institution, the support you offer aids your team in a different form of hospitality that serves their mental, physical, and spiritual side.
In the final analysis, the time and money that we invest in helping our team through the choppy waters of service will make a difference in how they cope with stressful situations. Something as simple as a cool glass of lemonade can refresh the body and spirit of a weary teammate.
Pause and Reflect: Supporting Your Team
- In your workplace, how do you lead your team through stressful situations?
- Are you supporting your team by identifying peak seasons of stress?
Related, Articles, Videos, and Podcast Episodes
- Motivation Survey Results Revealed
- The Driving Force of Motivation
- Build Your Team Through Trust
- Sustainable Service and Stewardship with John Pellowe
- Making Disciples Through Christian Education with Jason Rachels