In today's tough economy, with more and more people struggling to either find a job, hang on to the one they have, or make their businesses prosper, it's important to recognize everything we can do to help us be more productive. Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote an intriguing book called Learned Optimism. In his book, he offers many simple techniques to break an “I-give-up” habit and develop a more constructive explanatory style during challenging times. This can help you develop a more positive inner dialogue that has been found to break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and just plain make you happier.
- Identify and Align with Key Organizational Priorities. It’s important to understand how the current economy has impacted your organization. What’s most important for your company to succeed right now? Make sure you know. Then identify how this should impact your priorities as a manager. Communicate these priorities to your staff, and communicate them consistently. Make sure everyone is aligned and understands how their role helps the organization navigate through today’s choppy waters.
- Manage Your Time to Focus on These Priorities. It’s hard to disconnect from all our communication devices: text messages, voice mail, constant emails, interruptions, and all sorts of staff crises. However, the challenge every manager faces is the need to prioritize what is REALLY important from what is just urgent. When the going gets tough, it is more important than ever to make sure you are accomplishing your most important priorities. So remind yourself often what your critical objectives are. Don’t let all the pressing demands of the day keep you busy, instead of effective.
- Coach Your Staff to Succeed. Your key role as a manager is helping your staff to succeed. That means that you have got to help them stay focused on accomplishing their key priorities as well. You need to be so clearly tuned in to them that you know when they are slipping. Then you will need to coach them in the most effective way possible when they get off track. Help them to take ownership when they need to improve, and find the best strategies for success.
- Create a Motivational Environment. Your staff can also be facing additional pressure and work demands right now. You need to do everything in your power to keep them engaged. Don’t ever underestimate the power of gratitude and appreciation. Let your staff know what you value about each individual. Be sincere and communicate it often. You’ll be amazed at how powerful the strategy of expressed praise can be.
- Become an Effective Change Agent. The only constant we have is change. To survive in today’s economy you need to embrace change and help your staff do the same. Communicate openly when a change is about to occur and explain the benefits to the organization and/or your employees. Help everyone understand how their actions can benefit the company by implementing the change. Although difficult at first, they’ll follow your lead and the new change will be accepted.
You can lead your staff through today’s economic challenges to be even stronger when the economy finally improves. You, too, will become stronger in the process as a result. Remember that your staff will watch how YOU step up to the challenge. They will model your attitudes, actions and beliefs. So use any challenge you experience as an opportunity to model what you want to see in others. When you do, you will have mastered key elements of effective leadership, even in a tough economy.
To learn how you can gain these critical skills for yourself and/or your organization, check out our free recorded webinar entitled “ How Live Virtual Management Training Can Meet the Needs of Today’s Managers”. This one hour recorded webinar will expand on this article further, and show you how you can gain these skills, even on a minimized budget.