It's the most wonderful time of the year...or is it? As many teams gear up for the holidays by planning elaborate office parties, team gift giving, and more, not every one of your employees are going to feeling innately jolly this season. 

In a survey commissioned by Joy Organics, 88 percent of respondents believe the holidays are the most stressful time of the year, with many (84 percent) noting that these excessive feelings of stress start as early as November. 

Whether it's feeling burnt out by trying to get ahead before an extended holiday vacation or simply feeling exhausted, alone, or irritable because of an increased workload and financial stress, the holidays can put undue pressure and strain on your staff's mental health. 

So before you start looking ahead at all the exciting programs that you're planning next year, here are four important questions every manager should be asking their team to make sure they are supported throughout the festive season. 

"How Can I Help You?" 

It's a simple question, but one that packs a huge punch. As leaders, we want to ensure that our employees are working efficiently; however, we also need to make sure that they have everything they need in their arsenal to be able to get the job done. 

Asking your employees a blanket, open-ended statement such as this leaves the onus on them to share their day-to-day pain points in ways you probably wouldn't be able guess yourself, being a few steps removed from the process. 

It's also a great way to allow your employees to open up in a way that builds lasting trust, and have them feel supported by their management team. 

"Am I Doing a Good Job at Supporting You?"

Your No. 1 job as a leader is to inspire and support your team, which is why good leaders need to be cognizant if their other duties are taking away their ability to support their employees to the best of their capabilities. 

We all have moments when our to-do list seems endless, especially during the busy holiday season. However, we have to check in with ourselves and make sure we aren't putting our own work priorities first, at the expense of our team. 

In other words, don't be afraid to ask your employees for a performance review! After all, the best way to find out if employees are satisfied with your support is to straight-up ask them. Getting feedback from your employees and knowing where you may lack as a manager can help create stronger interpersonal relationships, higher morale, and an increased feeling of teamwork. 

"What Is Your Biggest Accomplishment This Quarter?" 

Who doesn't like celebrating big wins? With so many projects winding down for the year, now is the time to really invest in your team by building them up and congratulating them on their recent successes.

This goes for both large-scale accomplishments (think, dramatically improving sales numbers or completing a headache of a year-long project) to more everyday wins (like a great interaction with a customer or awesome social-media feedback). 

By recognizing outstanding achievements, you build a positive work environment that boosts morale, strengthens motivation, and increases overall employee engagement. 

"What Are Your Goals for Next Year?"

While it may be tempting to solely consider how you can help your team manage this stressful season in the short-term, you would be remiss to not chat about their long-term career goals during your next one-on-one meeting before the holidays. 

Knowing what your employees' goals are for the future is so important when it comes to navigating your organizational strategy, leadership structure, and more. But beyond this, asking questions about where your employees see themselves helps your team start thinking beyond their everyday projects and tasks and begin planning their future at the company. It's a great way to start setting tangible goals and gear up for an exciting new year!