US Hiring Advice_8 Ways lead hard time

8 Ways to lead through hard times

Whether it’s fluctuations in your industry, change in business ownership or within the wider economic and political sphere, any uncertainty can take a toll on team morale. If your business is facing a tough time, then you and your team will no doubt be feeling the weight of it. Most often the turbulent times can have a knock-on effect towards the key factors that keep your staff happy.

What can you do to lead you team through these tough times and keep them motivated?

1. Don’t keep them in the dark

As soon as a change or challenge arises, make sure you are communicative and clear. Deliver as much information as you can in person and develop an internal communications strategy. This is particularly important if there are going to be any redundancies or budget cuts, or new additions to your headcount. It is all change, and change rocks the boat. You should encourage your team to come to you with any questions or concerns that they have.

2. Be inclusive

It is not enough to just be transparent about the challenges facing your business, you should also endeavor to get people’s feedback and input.  Hold team meetings and ask your team to bring ideas and solutions to the table – try to create an environment where everybody feels they can speak up and make a contribution.

3. Don’t forget recognition

Whilst financial incentives may not be possible, there are other ways to reward your team. Praise costs nothing, but will more than likely mean a lot to your team during periods of uncertainty. Give credit where credit is due and thank them for their hard work. Many excellent employees go under appreciated and demotivated, hence their desire to look for a new role.

4. Keep the balance

When there are challenges, we all have to work a little (and sometimes a lot) harder. Wherever possible, make sure your employees aren’t staying too late, and if they have been working particularly long hours, can you afford to let them come in a little later or leave early? Perhaps you could take them all for a team lunch, or buy some lunch in for them, just to keep spirits up? There is only so much your staff can take before they lose all motivation, burnout and give up completely.

5. Make up-skilling a priority

Look at ways in which you can help your staff to progress. Ask them in which areas they would like further development. Budget may be an issue for formal training but there are other ways such as mentoring, free online training tools or by delegating certain tasks which would build upon their skills set. Encourage them to up-skill themselves, for instance via webinars or going to free events and seminars.

6. Empower – don’t micromanage

Continue to delegate tasks and let your employees take ownership of their responsibilities and make decisions. This will build their confidence and help them to continue to develop in their roles.

7. Stay positive

Chances are the office environment will be tense during these times.  Keep a smile on your face and continue to make whatever informal conversation you usually make with your employees, whether it’s asking how their evening was or what their weekend plans are. Whilst you may be under plenty of stress, don’t take this out on your team. You are the leader.

8. Business as usual

Whilst there may be challenges to your business which you will need to address, try and keep working life as consistent as possible. Continue to delegate and keep routine things like team meetings, one to ones and weekly reports in the diary.

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