We are all going through this difficult time, and some businesses simply because of the market they operate in will be feeling it more acutely than others.
However, these lessons are important now, as much as they are when things are going well.
If you are doing the basics well in terms of man-management, then it is often said that everything else will fall into place.
I’m, not sure if that is true, because I have seen these basics done well, and yet still the business will not operate a profit.
One thing is for sure though, there is no harm in operating under these guidelines. They can all be done without the need for huge investment, on a micro and macro level.
They will need some effort though so be prepared for that.
So what are the key things to consider?
Counsellors, when they start out, are taught some very basics in terms of how to get to a point of openness with their clients, and showing empathy is one of the key things to learn.
People may be confused and worried about their jobs, and salaries moving forward. It is important that you recognise that and let them know that you do understand the position they are in. It is your job to understand this now, and at all times to be honest. You need to convey that you do understand in a very real way, so speak to your workforce, tell them you understand, listen to their concerns and od you best to reassure them, in a truthful way.
See their world and position and communicate your understanding.
Be open and honest
When showing empathy, it is important that there is a level of honesty in the feedback.
People will not thank you in times of crisis for spinning a tale or muddying the waters with untruths.
We can see this panning out with our political leaders whereby many commentators are saying the lack of acceptance or reluctance, to tell the truth, is not making things better, but making our relationship with them worse.
Learn a lesson here, and keep the lines of communication open, real and constant. Above all tell the truth.
Let your staff know that you trust them
Maybe you don’t trust your staff? What is more likely is that you trust some more than others based upon how they have operated, and that’s fair enough.
What you should ensure though is that you do try and operate from a defacto position of trust.
I have seen leaders that don’t trust their staff as their starting position. Often this is just one of several poor character traits. This has never ended well, and these are not leaders you want to emulate.
Step away from the blame game, and certainly run away from publicly blaming your staff.
Be a role model, and ensure that you recognise and praise good work.
Encourage and ensure that those that need support to shine are getting that help.
Also, and this is quite important, when you get it wrong admit that, and hold your hands up.
Walk the walk
As always lead by example and ensure that you never give tasks to your staff out of cowardice, in the sense that you are too fearful to do them yourself.
You need to be front and centre at times of crisis, showing your staff the way to operate.
This helps build and sustain your culture and imparts a further sense of trust between you and your staff.
These tasks are not easy, but they are imperative in difficult times.
It would be good to know how you’re doing at the moment, let us know.