When people get anxious, they generally don’t make very good decisions. In fact, that’s what they’re wired to do. Our bodies know that anxiety is the precursor to terror; when you see a tornado in the distance, there’s isn’t enough time to sit around and figure out which way it’s going to turn.
There are a small number of people, however, who stay calm in stressful situations and increase their focus on making calculated decisions. They see the storm coming, any they know exactly how long they have to decide and act before time runs out. Those people gain a reputation over time for reliability during times of crisis, and many of them become leaders of teams, departments, or organizations.
We’re facing one of those crises right now.
Weekly new unemployment claims are expected to jump from a couple hundred thousand to more than 2.5 million next week, which would be the highest number in history.
Employees that are working are facing the types of questions that crush employee productivity and morale. Will I (or my spouse) get laid off? Will my kids make it back to school this year? Will my family get sick, and will a hospital be ready to take care of me? When will the country recover from this?
If you’re a CEO, the actions you take now are critical. They will help your employees cope with uncertainty. They will impact how badly your business is harmed by this crisis, and how quickly it can recover afterwards. This is the time to tell employees where the company stands, and how each person can ensure continued success for the company. Guide their focus away from things they cannot control and towards things they can impact. And work with your best employees to devise a way for them to continue to contribute to the company even if they’re facing challenges due to school closures.
If you think too long, or if you panic, your revenue will decline as your expenses stay steady or increase. Your best employees may sense job risk and flee to a more “stable” company. You’ll spend years rebuilding, instead of taking advantage of the new opportunities created by this terrible market (and life) disruption.
But if you’re able to build a sense of shared sacrifice and duty, you can increase your accomplishments during these tough weeks. That success can be parlayed into shared pride at what your company was able to accomplish when faced with big challenges. Problems that used to look like mountains will begin to look like hills after this. Hills will look like bumps.
Some of the most effective teams are bonded during shared adversity; lead well, and your company could become one of those teams.
To learn how WingSwept can help your company make better use of technology, call us at 919-460-7011 or email us at Team_WingSwept@WingSwept.com.