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6. If you joke about getting buried in paperwork--then bury some gold - Take a few of those ever present post-it notes, jot down notes of thanks & acknowledgment & then hide notes in amidst piles of paperwork. One warning- Be sure you make sure they are hidden high enough in stacks that they will be found before Christmas!
7. Lend them your ear - Bring in some donuts or some homemade holiday goodies & give your staff your undivided attention for 1 hour. Don't allow any interruptions if at all possible & let your people know that not only are they important to you, but that you care enough about what they have to say to put everyone else on hold during this hectic season & focus just on them!
8. Invite brass - If you have a responsive upper management then encourage 1 or more of your top managers to drop by informally (read for no other purpose) & express their thanks & appreciation to your staff.
9. Stand in their shoes - Nothing means more too many staff than knowing that you understand exactly what they face each day. If you have a relatively small number of staff then consider letting each staff person select a day to leave early (even an extra hour can be valuable at this hectic time of year) while you fill in for them. Not only will you give them an unexpected bonus hour to take care of other priorities but also you will convince them in most honest way possible that you are willing to do anything you ask them to do.
10. Go public - If you don't mind spending a little bit of money, consider taking ourt an advertisement in local paper. Include a group photo of your team & comments from yourself, families, anyone who appreciates your staff, & all they do. They may be self-conscious about this type of public recognition, but few will be able to help themselves from clipping it out of paper & tucking it away it their memory boxes.
Granted all of these ideas take some time & effort on your part. But consider where you would be without people that show up & do job day in & day out. Don't they deserve a little holiday cheerleading from their coach!
Copyright 2000, Lisa Simmons
Lisa is the director of the Ideal Lives Project, providing practical support for special needs families & professionals. Visit her on-line at http://www.ideallives.com or subscribe to her free newsletter at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org