You...set the tone. You, as the leader, set the tone. Every word, every email, every silence, every smile...creates the environment for those in your organization. It's true for everyone, too. But, as a leader your impact is much greater.
And, on those days when we find ourselves merely mortal and unable to set the proper tone...and it happens...take a moment. A mental health hour, a walk, an extra cup of coffee, one less cup of coffee...a call to a friend, a partner, an advisor...can often help.
Be sure to reach out. It adds meaning to others. Everyone has at times depended on this same network of trusted supporters.
Laughter is our great advantage as a species. The ability to laugh is the ability to keep perspective. It is the tool that often lets us persevere in desperate situations.
Laughter and humor can keep the spirits high, the ideas flowing, the cooperation growing.
And, at the same time, these are serious times. George Carlin, Larry the Cable Guy or Wanda Sykes...at every meeting will be unproductive.
Share the goods.
Share the story, the full story, of your company with everyone in the company. The full story includes opportunities, challenges, setbacks, failures and reminders. Discretion is important here.
Reminders are important in times of challenge and stress. Companies fail completely when their memory is lost; they forget their purpose, who they are, what they stood for, why they matter. Once they forget...whose job is it to remember? Certainly not the customers or the vendors and partners.
And, fear begins to arise in the gaps where memory is lost. Uncertainty is the breeding ground for...fear.
Challenges, setbacks and failures are where the opportunities reside. It’s also where your stars will shine.
As a leader, it’s where your star shines. You see clearer and more concretely the path that's needed through these uncertain times.
Listen, listen, listen.
Ok, sure you may not be afraid. You may be excited about the opportunities made possible with your competitors’ demise.
But, that’s you.
Not everyone will see the glass half full.
Sharing your excitement is at best meaningless, and at worst destructive, until you hear, recognize and acknowledge the fears of others.
Listening makes it possible to share the vision in ways that are meaningful to your audience with examples and data that serve to connect and inspire.
Connect, connect, connect.
In a time of greater uncertainty, like...today...it’s even more imperative you connect what people do with what goals are accomplished. Everyone needs to understand what they contribute.
Sure, the sales guy closed a big deal. But, could he have done it without the IT guy keeping the network up and running and the sales guy’s desktop running?
Sure, customers are happy but would they be happy without finance and billing delivering accurate invoices, handling payments precisely and reporting exact statements on time?
If you connect, connect, connect, you make meaning, meaning, meaning for those who deliver your brand’s meaning to others: customers.
Document, document, document.
This will be a time of great ideas, solutions, and cooperation. Heroes will be born. Stars will shine. These will become part of the corporate memory you will share in the future.
It’s also a time when uncertainty, fear, reluctance to change, territorial battles, infighting, silo-mentalities, stubbornness, refusal to change...
Both need to be documented, openly and transparently: The former to celebrate and recognize; the latter to remove quickly with knowledge, data, discussion, support, coaching and removal in response as appropriate.
6 ways to keep fear out of your business.
Note: I first published this one year ago. It still seems to ring true and it seems many of us still need to hear it. So here it is, one more time.
* istock photo: sdominick