The best leaders communicate effectively with employees during times of economic stress and anxiety. However, management cannot get rid of stress until they learn to lead as well as they manage.
We manage cash; we manage inventory; we manage time.
However, we lead people.
Effective leaders must communicate well and communicate often. Better communication is not only important for employees, but helpful for customers too. People often want to know the same things. Therefore, the sooner you provide answers, explanations, and solutions, the better the desired outcome.
The challenges to honest and productive communication are common. Money is tight, morale is low, and good employees may be looking for different jobs. Some people play the blame game. If we hadn’t expanded…, if we had better salespeople…, if we had new software… You know the story.
However, instead of contemplating and hesitating, try to immediately address whatever uncertainties the company or employees are facing.
Here are my top three suggestions to promote positive communication and relieve stress for all but the over-the-top paranoid staffer.
1. Be Truthful.
Tell it like it is. Nothing can kill morale and productivity like over-active imaginations. Therefore, don’t make your employees speculate about the state of your organization. A leader doesn’t have to violate company confidentialities in order to give people a realistic status report.
2. Have A Plan.
All right, things are bad. So, what is leadership planning to do about it? Presenting “what if” scenarios will at a minimum, reduce the element of surprise. Let your staff know that you have a plan and are taking the necessary steps to implement it.
3. Encourage Team Commitment.
Typically, people want to contribute to turning things around. As a result, many are willing to commit to a plan that will save their job. Most people will rise to the challenge when they know the desired outcome in advance.
As a leader, learn how to be an exemplar of initiative and communication. When you do, you equip the people you lead to overcome obstacles to their own success.
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