The past two years have been anything but predictable for, well, anyone. But despite that, some teams and leaders have emerged stronger than ever—and in some teams I have seen morale is at an all-time high. Here are some thoughts on managing through difficult times, with hopes that others can learn from my experiences.
- Be clear, honest and transparent: Teams are built on trust and this is the foundation of every interaction we have with our people. If you can’t be clear about what you’re saying or doing, don’t say it.
- Acknowledge the contributions of others: When things don’t go well, acknowledge the contributions of your team members who tried their best. This gives them an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and feel good about what they did right.
- Be a good listener: If there is something that needs improvement, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your team members – especially if it’s something you feel strongly about, such as work ethics or communication skills. Ask questions like “Have I been able to communicate my expectations clearly?” Or “How could we improve our communication process?” Make sure everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts with each other before moving on with another question.
- Communication is a key component of keeping employees motivated and happy. It’s important that you have an open-door policy so employees feel comfortable approaching you with issues or concerns, even if they aren’t work related. You should also make sure that everyone on your team understands the goals of the company and how each person fits into those goals. This will give everyone a sense of purpose, which can be incredibly motivating.
- Finally, make sure that your expectations are realistic enough that they’re achievable but not so easy that they don’t provide any challenge at all. You want to encourage hard work but not discourage learning new skills or taking on new responsibilities in order to grow professionally.