Everyone has traditions and for many people they make an annual appearance at the holiday. We have family traditions (decorating the tree together at the day after Thanksgiving, St. Nick and now Elf on a Shelf). I also have a holiday work tradition with my team. Many managers have something they do and the practice may or may not be dictated by their employer and/or work culture. The holiday event may be viewed by some as a reward or recognition for a good year
Fortunately I have a small close-knot team so I take them out for lunch every year and give a small gift. It’s nothing grand but it is enjoyable and it gives us time to relax and laugh together outside of work and talk about non-work related things. I feel it helps to build team camaraderie. As a LinkedIn member I read many Influencer posts and I particularly enjoy the articles written by Jack and Suzy Welch. Recently they wrote a post in November called “Four Sure-Fire Ways to Motivate Your People, And Dinner With You Isn’t One of Them”. It was an article about something every good and great manager should do-motivate employees using recognition, celebration, mission and balancing achievement and challenge. He was clear to point out that having a forced meal with the boss isn’t what many employees call fun or rewarding.
It made me stop and think, is my holiday tradition with my team a good idea, do they value it, is it a motivating reward for them? This tradition wasn’t started by me, I maintained it when I was promoted to my position because I enjoyed it. In today’s workplace where many are doing more with less people, stopping work to go out for lunch with co-workers is not a norm (I feel shameful to admit my team falls into this category).
I agree with Jack & Suzy Welch that dinner or lunch with the boss isn’t the best and certainly never the only way to motivate a team. But in my situation it is what I mean it to be- a thank you from me to them for a good year, for being great team players. It is not the sole method I use for recognizing their hard work and achievements (let’s be honest money still talks the loudest for many people) but I am a firm believer that for my team this holiday tradition works for us and I think I’ll keep it up. And at least one day a year we will not eat at our desks while multi-tasking.