In the economy today, because of the pervasiveness of technology and the pace of change, uncertainty has become part of the business landscape. Companies have to deal with globalization, big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
The issues are more complicated, and the skills needed more sophisticated. This uncertainty has led to more anxiety among workers, who are concerned about their companies and their livelihoods. Here are some things company leaders can do to help alleviate that anxiety.
How To Lead a Team Through Crisis
1. Be more flexible
The more you try to micromanage, especially during difficult situations, the more hazards you create. During times of uncertainty, a lighter touch generally works better, where you allow workers the autonomy to use their skills and make decisions
Flexibility in thinking is needed as well, where employees are encouraged to look at problems from different angles, take risks, try new approaches, and collaborate. Acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers and that you need to work together to find them.
2. Make expectations clear
Often there is a disconnect between what supervisors believe employees know and what they actually do know. A supervisor may believe his workers know what is expected of them, but that may not be the case. Workers often say they are not clear exactly what their responsibilities are or how they need to handle them.
A supervisor may take for granted many of the things a person needs to know to do a particular job, but the person doing the job may be unsure about them. The employee may be unsure about the nuts-and-bolts tasks because their introduction to the job was more of an overview rather than training from the ground up.
Supervisors can help to reduce anxiety by giving workers more guidance on how to achieve their goals, showing them what has worked in the past, cautioning them about mistakes to avoid, and letting them know the extent of their decision making authority.
3. Work on the things you can control
Teams need to focus on the things they can change, rather than fret about those that they have no control over.
For example, a team at one company had to deal with an outdated workflow system. But there was little they could do about it. So they focused on what they could improve — the quality of their work and the product they put out.
4. Give feedback
Often managers are reluctant to do this because they fear an employee’s reaction. But workers want more feedback and feel ignored when they don’t get it. But managers need to deliver feedback in the right way. They need to focus on one thing that needs improvement and offer specific suggestions for how the worker can improve as well as a way to measure the improvement.
Then there needs to be follow up to assess how well things are going.
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