There is a real challenge in managing staff in an economic downturn.
For many Leaders, the first instinct is to drive everyone harder to ensure that the maximum productivity and return is created. In the short term, this may appear to work but in the medium to long term all it does is fuel stress, increase burnout and create an underlying resentment that can become really corrosive. People feel the need to be busy rather than concentrate on being productive. There is a tendency for people to represent the truth in a way that they think will put them in a better light but can distort the reality of the situation leaving everyone more vulnerable as the real picture becomes distorted. Fear and uncertainty become the driving force and as a result, confidence gets hit badly. Energy levels become hard to maintain and the ongoing impact on the body leads to stress-related problems which in turn impact on absence figures all of which come at a cost to the company.
Coaching and training budgets are often one of the first budgets to take a cut. At a simplistic level, it makes sense to cut expenditure where it appears to have minimum impact. The reality is actually very different. Facing a challenging economic situation requires courage. The current situation is quite outside the experience of most of today’s workforce. Such circumstances require a workforce which is confident, well resourced personally and organizationally. It needs people who are ready to face every new challenge with creativity and an unwavering desire to find a way through such unchartered waters.
Coaching offers individuals the opportunity to think through each new challenge. It provides the opportunity to try out ideas and strategies, to be challenge old ways of thinking so that when faced with clients they are well prepared, confident and adaptable. Individuals can deal with limiting beliefs and to develop resilience and confidence leaving them ready to anticipate the fast-paced rate of change.
Confidence is vital if you are to win business. In times of great turbulence, confidence becomes a winning factor in gaining and keeping business. Clients need to feel that they can trust in your organisations ability to deliver everything your organisation promises. Any hint of uncertainty will be picked up and business lost as a result.
A creative approach to targeted training can give your people the edge on your competitors. It is time to think differently, to be smarter and more creative in your approach to training. Training your staff on how to influence others effectively would provide them with the tools to understand your client’s world, to speak their language and to get to the heart of what really matters – to them. Ensuring that your staff are highly skilled not only technically but in presenting themselves and your product will make a qualitative difference in these cut-throat times.
Communicating effectively is crucial and lies at the heart of an organisation’s ability to succeed in the most trying times. Involving your staff in finding the solution, being open and listening to their ideas demonstrates that you value them and creates even greater commitment from them to your success. It offers the opportunity to share ideas and expertise, provides different perspectives and leads to reduced stress for all concerned.
If you face making cuts to your workforce, it is then even more important to engage and involve staff in the process from the outset. It has been proven that even the worst news is better received where staff have been involved in the discussions from the outset about how to save the organization. Where people understand that there are no other options and see themselves as part of a transparent and fair process to determine who should go and who is to stay the stress and trauma created through redundancies or a reduction in working hours or pay is minimised.
Holding on to past practices is likely to lead to the same results you have now. We live in very challenging times and such times call for creative and brave decisions. Leaders need to protect the strategic capacity of their organisation to ensure they have a bright future, coaching and training have the potential to help you to do this effectively.
Maybe you need more help to be a great leader during difficult economic times?
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