In these uncertain times, leaders are most likely experiencing some pressure from their teams looking for answers on economic uncertainty.
As a leader in these conditions your strategy must focus on calming anxiety through transparency and compassion. Speaking openly about economic uncertainty—rather than avoiding the topic or making light of it—is the best way to ease the minds of your team members who are looking for answers. Here are some of the strategies that have worked with my clients:
Communication, communication, communication
It’s more vital than ever for leaders to communicate often and openly by engaging with their employees. Give regular updates both in weekly meetings and electronically about any changes in the economy and industry that might cause you to make adjustments—whether that means tightening budgets or changing goals. Also make it a point to ensure your team feel empowered to voice their concerns and have a platform for giving their own feedback—through anonymous surveys or face to face meetings with their own managers.
Help your team navigate uncertainty
More than honesty, employees need to feel a sense that they’re being cared after. One of the ways you can quell their fears is by prioritising their needs and wellbeing. Part of this involves giving more room for flexibility, offering more benefits and perks, and providing them with ongoing mental health support.
Focus on morale
Transparency and open communication can mean very little if there isn’t a personal element coming from leadership. Connecting with your employees as individuals and building rapport through ongoing relationships will help make your team feel safer and more secure, despite shifts in the economy.
Keep vision at the forefront
Researcher Dr. Joseph Castleberry writes “We can never know for sure what will happen next. In truth, leadership always occurs in times of uncertainty.For that matter, I want to argue here that uncertainty is what makes leadership necessary in the first place.The main thing leaders provide is a vision to pursue, and that always involves more than just predicting what the future will bring; declaring a vision means deciding what future to build.”
Leaders often confuse vision with goals. But there can be no vision without the teamwork that goes into helping your business grow. Providing a vision during times of disruption and economic uncertainty is one of the most important aspects of leadership.