All companies go through tough times and some go through the pits of hell and back to Earth again. How do you steer your organisation in the right direction even things look bleak?
1. Show them Your Resolve to Make it the Tough Times
In tough times, most people always look at the situation and assume its worst. Morale is usually down and people are even afraid to lose their jobs. Leaders have to constantly share with their followers that there is still a silver lining in the clouds. He has to constantly show them there is a way and in order to weather through the hard times. A leader is constantly optimistic, and yet realistic to the actual situation around him/her.
Consider Winston Churchill when he was fighting against the Nazis in a one-front war.
“We are resolved to destroy Hitler and every vestige of the Nazi Regime. From this, nothing will turn to us. Nothing! We will never parley. We will never negotiate with Hitler or any of his gang. We shall fight him by land. We shall fight him by sea. We shall fight him in the air. Until, with God’s help, we have rid the earth of his shadow.”
Are you willing to tell your staff, “We will never give up. It might take a long time to get there, but we shall prevail!”
2. Acknowledge the Brutal Facts
In all great companies, the leadership is always willing to acknowledge that they do not know all the answers and there is a harsh reality facing the existence of the organization. They know that even being in leadership, they still need feedback from their staff. Even when the times are turbulent, they will make consistent efforts to look at their profit and loss statements and acknowledge there are problems. They do not hide between the “Oh, aren’t we great?” mentality.
Even Churchill consistently relied on facts and data from the statistical office to provide him with clear facts of reality. Even when the Nazis were winning the war in Europe, he mentioned that “I… had no need for cheering dreams… Facts are better than dreams.”
3. Show them the Law Of Sacrifice
It continues to amaze me to see that whenever there are pay cuts in the companies, most companies cut down-up, meaning lower levels of employees’ salaries are usually cut first before senior management are affected. To get people to respect and follow us, we have to first take the lead. Senior management are always willing to sacrifice their pay.
I read a story of a company during the hard times, cut the CEO’s pay by 70%, Middle managers by 50% and the workers by 20%. Everyone in the company knew that if anyone was affected, it was always the management first.I’m not advocating that pay must always be cut during tough times, but management always led by example and are willing to sacrifice for their staff.
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