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How to manage in difficult times

2 min read


Today’s guest post is by Bob Rosner and Allan Halcrow, co-authors of The Boss’s Survival Guide.

Our uncertain economy makes managing extremely difficult. Why? It’s tough to keep people focused when half of them are worried that they could be laid off. But it can be done, if you pay attention to “The Forgotten 4.”

  • Fairness. Fairness is often overlooked, yet it’s the foundation for everything. How hard do you work when you feel that the system is rigged against you? We’ve created a simple strategy for showing your people that you believe in fairness at work. Take time in staff meetings to establish department-wide “not-to-do” lists. Your people will appreciate that you don’t just pile on the work — you free them up to focus on what really matters.
  • Flexibility. Tough times dramatically increase the need to put out fires and handle curveballs. That’s why it’s so important to increase your flexibility. My favorite strategy? Be more open to hearing bad news. In fact, encourage your people to challenge ideas and approaches in staff meetings via Cassandra’s Toss, where each person wads up a piece of paper before each staff meeting that they can toss at those they disagree with during the meeting. It’s a playful way to encourage people to challenge the status quo.
  • Leverage. How do you increase leverage at work? Eliminate the words “No, because…” from your vocabulary (as in, “No, because we’ve tried that before”). The next time someone comes to you with an idea, respond, “Yes, if…” It takes more effort to determine what would make their idea work, but consider the energy you’ll liberate when your people don’t have to crawl out from under a barrage of “No’s.”
  • Empathy. There is so little empathy between bosses and employees. Each side blames the other for their entitlement mentality and lack of loyalty. How do we repair this schism? Think of the person on your staff who is most important to your success. Ask that person what it would take to keep them working for your company. You’ll probably be surprised at how easy it is to keep them happy.

Image credit: wakila, via iStock