Leading Into Fall

With the passing of Labor Day, our summer is winding down and we begin the transition to fall and the holiday season. What I find most interesting about this time of year is how companies need time to adjust to having everyone working together again. In May comes Memorial Day, June holds a lot of graduations and weddings, July celebrates our nation’s history, and August brings vacation time and the need to squeeze that last bit of summer out of our system. Toward the end of August, many return to school, and by the week after Labor Day we are all back into our normal routines.

I find this time to be a period of challenge for me. Summer is over and it’s time to get back to work, serving our employees and customers; once again working together as a team. Your team has spent the summer focused on fun with their family and friends. As a leader I find it difficult to get a lot done during the summer months, our team always seems to have someone on vacation. What is the best way to serve your team in September? Here are a few thoughts for you to consider.

  1. Make sure all team members are aware of decisions made while they were away from work. You could add a lot of value to your team by explaining why these decisions were made.
  2. Spend some time in meetings and other company gatherings asking others about their summer vacations. This time of sharing will help bring the team back together as well as help them get to know each other better.
  3. I find it best to ease into the desire to “add a deadline to everything.” Remember you have parents working for your organization who have children that have started school again, with new teachers or new schools. This can cause lots of extra stress on employees.
  4. Prioritize the work that was put “on hold” for the summer.
  5. Hold an all-hands meeting with your employees to share where the company is and where it’s going. Most importantly, it’s a great time for a refresher on the mission, purpose and values of your company.
  6. Spend some time with those in your organization who have not performed up to their capability. People have returned to work in a better frame of mind for this type of conversation and could be more receptive to your feedback.
  7. Spend time with your leaders. Get them together for a lunch, potluck or just some time together sharing their summer experiences. Leaders need this time to get back into a normal routine after the summer months.
  8. Spend some time reflecting on your summer. Did you accomplish everything you set out to? Did you spend time with family members? Restore a family relationship? Spend time with your kids? If you didn’t, the upcoming holiday months of November and December would be a great time to make it up to those you love most. Take time today to plan your holiday time away from work, to set some personal goals that you can accomplish. You’ll be glad you didn’t let this time slip away from you.
  9. Don’t forget to live life to its fullest. Life/work integration is more important than a work/life balance. It’s important for you as an individual and a leader.

What I’ve discovered over the years is the month of September sets the tone for the next 12 months, not January as some believe.

I always like to serve my employees by helping them transition back into work after a summer of fun and relaxation. Bringing your teams together, reminding everyone about why you are in business and talking about where the company is headed is one of the best ways to transition into fall.

Take time to help your team get back into a normal routine after the summer months. It is one of the best ways you can serve them. Investing time in your employees is always a great way to add value.

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