Monday, July 20, 2009

Lead, don't follow

It's been a rough 6 months, heck, for many people it has been rough for a lot longer than that. The global economic crisis, economy melting faster then ice cream on a hot July summer day in Ottawa on Bank Street. Admittedly that is not saying much with this summer's unseasonably cool weather.

The fact remains, many people are feeling very uncertain about their jobs, job satisfaction is at an all time low for many people, fear for the safety of their jobs, or the stability of their employer is weighing heavily on many people throughout the country.

With all this doom and gloom what is a leader to do?

There is little a leader can do about the economy, and there is little a leader can do to create job security where there is none, but a great leader can do many little things to reassure his followers, and to bring some light to these difficult times.

A good leader must be able to self-motivate when he is feeling sad, insecure, sick, or tired. This means that you are smiling, positive, and upbeat where ever you can be. This doesn't mean you are to be dishonest, or not genuine, just remind everyone of all the good things that are going on right now. If you cannot motivate yourself to get up, and get going then no one else will be able to.

Celebration time
Celebrate all victories, even the small ones. You don't have to throw a lavish party in Las Vegas (though if you do, please invite me), but a thank you card, a small get together after work, or even the a verbal pat on the back can do a lot to motivate people. Rewarding people in an ad-hoc manner with small little things will do wonders for morale, and little to your pocket book.

Invest in people
Don't stop investing in people. Don't stop investing in the tools and software your team needs to do their job. In the grand scheme of things, most of these things are "pretty cheap", but mean a lot to those that need them to do their jobs. This will help improve someone's job satisfaction. If you can improve your company's benefit package without busting the bank then go for it.

Keep the lines of communication open. Communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly with everyone in your company. Get up and out of your desk or cubicle. Talk to the people you are leading outside of your day to day job. Talk about the weather (rain), talk about sports, talk about the vacation you just had. Just talk. People will get comfortable with you and may talk about more then just trivial things, perhaps you will learn something that might keep that key player at your company.

These are four simple things that can help improve the morale of those on your team. There are many more small, simple, and yet thoughtful things that can be done to help your team's morale flourish.

What do you look for a leader to do in these tough times?


Francois Boisvert said...

With regards to the communication aspect, while on the plane, I was reading an article from the US Airways magazine on "How leaders can stay on top of issues" and the article starts by saying that leaders should master the issues
,not just through briefing books but by getting out into the field and talking to people.

In those days of economic challenge, it is even more important for exec and management to get out of their office and make the effort to know their people and their issues so that the company leaders are aware of what is going on. Communication is not only done through company's announcements and report but also with a lot of one-on-one discussions with the employees.

Jason Mawdsley said...

Exactly. In politics it's called main streeting.

cagreen said...

Glad to see you back writing again.