When the economy sinks, so, too, does the likeability of your boss. As the company's earnings and stock plummet, he can be seen skulking and scowling down the cubicle aisles, warning in closed-door meetings of the absence of raises and promotions and the omnipresence of anxiety—"But if we work together as a team," he then enthuses, "I'm sure we'll pull through." An unpleasant picture, but one that's avoidable, according to Bill Treasurer, management specialist and author of "Courage Goes to Work: How to Build Backbones, Boost Performance, and Get Results." Here are Treasurer's tips for remaining a good boss in bad times:
• Be Ubiquitous. "Instead of holing up in your office—a real temptation in tough times—be 'out there' for your employees," says Treasurer. "They need your guidance and direction more than ever, so be fully present and offer it to them."
• Be Steady. President Obama is recognized and admired for being unflappable, Treasurer points out. "As pressures mount in your own work, take a deep breath and try to be a little cooler, calm, and collected yourself," he advises. "It may be easier said than done, but it's a fact that people choose to follow levelheaded, even-handed leaders."
• Be Straight. "In good times and bad, workers want—and deserve—the truth. Avoid tiptoeing around tough issues and give it to them straight, no spinning or sugarcoating," Treasurer emphasizes. "And to rein in the predictable and pernicious gossip, hold regular 'rumor hunts'—ongoing meetings where employees can air the latest rumors and hear the facts directly from you."
• Be Focused. It's easy during a crisis to give in to distraction, letting people and projects fall by the wayside, Treasurer notes. "Keep people laser-focused on what needs to be done—key priorities for the foreseeable future," he explains. "And, at least for now, have daily status calls or check-ins."
• Be Gutsy. "Fear can play to your base nature. Commit to rising above it and elevating yourself and your team," says Treasurer. "Stop talking to employees about what keeps you awake at night, and start acting on what gets you up in the morning—the results you can make happen together."
• Be Hopeful. This isn't the time for revealing your glass half-empty mentality, says Treasurer. "No downplaying the economy or giving false reassurances, but choose optimism over pessimism, encouragement over discouragement," he recommends. "Start by walking the talk, making it clear, with words and actions, that as difficult as things are right now, the team is better off dealing with what 'is,' and facing the challenges head-on with hope and determination."
Thanks to Training Mag.