In this article from the Harvard Business Review Amy Gallo offers some good insights on “How to Keep Your Team Focused and Productive During Uncertain Times”. Her key points are:
- Management needs to be compassionate
- Take care of yourself first
- Acknowledge the uncertainty
- Encourage self-compassion
- Ask people what they need
- Focus on what you do control
- Encourage and model self-care
She then provides two short case studies. I suggest you read the article. I also want to offer my own experience in a case study to demonstrate some additional thoughts you may find helpful.
I worked for an employer that had a town hall meeting with over 260 employees. In that town hall meeting the Director of the organization told us that in a year we would be downsizing to about 120 employees. Think about how everyone felt at that moment. He indicated what was happening and why. He shared with us everything he knew. We were small cogs in a much bigger organization.
He asked us to stay focused, he would have at least monthly town hall meetings, he would ensure HR would work with us on outplacement counseling and job searches, but he also encouraged us to hang in there, since there were so many unknowns. Over time he continued to update us very often, and he had periodic town hall meetings in between the scheduled monthly meetings. He demonstrated that he truly cared and was indeed concerned with us.
The rumors started immediately.
- Will my job be eliminated?
- What about others?
- What about the friends at work we had built up over the years?
- What will happen to them?
- What should I do?
- There were so many unknowns?
That day after work I went home and told my wife what had happened and for my own stress relief I went for a run. I was a jogger and decided I needed to make sure I exercised regularly, but not to hard, to help relieve my stress. This helped me. To help you, you need to discover your own stress releasers.
We learned about buy outs for some, bonuses for staying for others, time and resources for job placement and other initiatives to help during this period of uncertain times. These all were helpful, but productivity was negatively impacted and rumors flourished. It was a tough time on everyone. Some were accepting, some were bitter, some were angry, and some were just confused.
So what is a leader to do?
Follow the seven key principles recommended by Amy Gallo. She is right on point from my perspective. Determine where you fit in and do what you think is best once you calm yourself down and have time to reflect on the situation. It’s ok in the immediate term to voice what you feel. However, then it behooves you to surround yourself with other positive, focused individuals and to determine what you want, and what it will take you to get there.
Don’t make rash decisions. Rather think it through. Share with mentors and friends. Pray and reflect. In the end you control your own life and you are the best person to make your own decisions. Perhaps you can help others with these seven insights, and that may even help you too.
Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA is an international speaker, that helps organization overcome conflict and enhance effectiveness. Mike is dedicated to making individuals, organizations, thought-leading entrepreneurs and executives more successful. Michael’s books, including The Servant Manager, How to Work with the IRS, Second Edition and his most recent book, now also available as an eBook, Peaceful Resolutions are available at this link. On point resources are available online at www.mikegreg.com and check out the blog. Contact Mike directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (651) 633-5311.
About the author
Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at email@example.com and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]