Saturday, 01 December 2012

How to cope when your organisation is in the midst of turmoil

Is your organisation in the middle of a PR crisis? Here's a career masterclass in keeping your staff insulated as the storm clouds gather.

Decode. Confusion heightens the pain of turmoil. Translate the big organisational changes so that they resonate for your team. Explain 'process re-engineering' as 'adjusting the way we work'; illustrate 'market segments' with the names of familiar customers so that big changes are distilled into practical differences.

Quash rumours. In times of turmoil, teams look to their manager for the truth. Seek out the facts on what the future holds, tackle gossips, and never, ever bluff. Now is not the time.

Business as usual. The more tumultuous things are, the more your team need routine. Encourage them to maintain their usual high standards, and if they need an extra push remind them that the best way to secure their position is to excel amid the mayhem.

Provide TLC. Talk to individuals about how they're feeling, but keep it positive: what's working for you? How can we build on it? Whatever it is, try to give them what they need.

Walk the walk. Your team will take their mood cues from you. Cultivate calm energy - high vitality, low tension - and model a healthy work/life balance. At worst, it'll do you some good.

Promote connectedness. Whether it's through a team trip or just having lunch together, encourage everyone to bond. You alone are not enough to hold this team together.

Be open. Share any bad news, then invite discussion, while being honest about your own feelings. Not a team of talkers? Encourage them to write for 20 minutes a day about their emotions and how they can manage them.

Step up. Take control. Clarify new processes and remits, tackle increased workloads with innovative solutions, and if all else fails, plug the gaps yourself. Don't let them sink.

Blow your trumpets. Keep praising hard work and celebrating successes. Just because the organisation isn't having many victories, it doesn't mean your team should ignore theirs.

The Mind Gym: Relationships is published by Little, Brown at £12.99 - www.themindgym.com/books.

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