Tag Archives: economy

Leading in troubled times

This post addresses the needs of your team members and how they can help you in troubled times. I use a story about a good buddy (Calvin) who taught me a lesson.

The second thing this story does is challenge the typical strategies we may use to deal with job security anxiety.

Many of us were taught Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as the premise of behaviour and motivation. I find this model very useful, but it can produce ineffective strategies for engagement when we seek to grow from the bottom up, we never go after the heart at the top.

Maslow’s hierarchy – is it really the definitive set of needs

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Employee engagement in economic downturns

Employee engagement offers new challenges in economic downturns.

During times of plenty (economic growth) – we have many people focused on entitlements (pay, rewards, training, etc). It is the me time.

During times of economic downturn – it is still a me time.
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* The individual focus is on security.
* We become risk averse.
* Narratives of job loss create low innovation and a head down approach.
* Ownership and leadership can be diminished.

The great leadership task during both times is to get employees to focus on others and as a result focus on corporate (group) goals.
The need is to focus on great service and this can enable the focus to go past the individuals to others. In that state you can maintain engagement.

The key to addressing security needs:
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* Lots of information.
* Explain how and why decisions are being made.
* Involve staff in decisions to increase the feeling of control.
* When employees are let go treat them with empathy and great care.
* Those employees who remain must know you care about them.

I rarely recommend Maslow’s hierarchy ,but right now it is a good model to reflect on. Maslow’s lower order needs are at risk in economic downturns. The higher order needs can supersede this challenge.

What is your experience?

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