By Scott Philips
What a crazy time in our world! With global health concerns, international wars and turmoil, domestic unrest, and localized mental illness and poverty, what is our responsibility as business owners to our community and particularly to our own employees? Are we just to sit back and let things play out? Or, are we to step up in a major way to give our employees, community and world hope? My answer is ‘yes to hope!’
But, how do we best provide hope and calm with our own employees and colleagues during uncertainty? Hopefully the following thoughts will provide you with a few things you can do to contribute to a world of calm and peace.
1. Be proactive and positive – While it may seem to be prudent to wait for answers to come and for things to turn around, being proactive and positive shows your team that you are in control, are taking an active role in finding answers, and that you are a leader they can trust to follow.
A first proactive step is to reassure your employees that you are and will be doing everything possible to alleviate their concerns and to address the issues. Let them know that the best organizations identify key issues, look for alternatives and take actions to the best of their ability, making adjustments as needed.
Second, assess where your organization is emotionally. Are they freaked out, stunned, in denial, or simply lethargic? Determine the size and scope of their concerns and listen for their real or imagined concerns. If you are personally freaked out, they will be as well. So, make sure that you are calm and in control of your emotions before you begin to meet and dialog with them.
Third, put a smile on your face. People see hope in your eyes and a smile helps your eyes send the right message. Yes, things are difficult, but there is hope and we have made it through the storm before.
2. Be decisive, making important decisions – It is really important that you identify, then prioritize your most crucial decisions. These begin with creating a safe environment for your employees and ensuring their employment as best you can, serving and supporting customer needs and concerns and lastly concentrating on your company finances and your personal wealth. Too often employers do the opposite – prioritizing their personal wealth and making snap decisions from that vantage point.
In making sound decisions, begin by identifying what you desire the final outcomes to be. The more specific, the better your evaluation will be. Next, put all the alternatives on one page, identifying advantages and limitations of each option. Then, finish by selecting the best option – the one with the most advantages and the least limitations.
Sometimes, it is helpful to list out the criteria for decision making and how much weight each criteria element deserves. You might put more weight on ‘immediate impact’, for example, rather than ‘long term benefits’.
3. Be accessible to your team – During difficult situations it is super important to be accessible to your employees – both physically present as well as through other types of communications. Make sure that you have an emergency Communications Plan ready to implement when you encounter crazy situations. This Plan articulates the following:
- What needs to be communicated
- When it needs to be communicated
- Who is responsible for creating and delivering communication
- How employees and customers can respond to communication
- What you intend to do to keep people up to date on progress
The next piece of being accessible to your team is to solicit and respond to employee feedback. Be available for discussions and problem solving. They will feel valued, better solutions will surface, and you will also see who your true leaders are.
If you go into a hole and hide, you and your leadership team will be seen as weak. And if that happens, chances are you have lost your platform to lead your people effectively. These simple steps will calm the fears in your workplace, prepare you and the organization to succeed even through the difficulties, and provide you personally and your organization with a true sense of hope.
If you are needing guidance in calming the fears in your workplace, contact us at TruNorth Partners. We can help! firstname.lastname@example.org or 504-913-2705.