The Leadership Traits of Recession-Proof Leaders – Part 2  (click her for Part 1)

Phase 1   Begin with YOULeaders Meeting during Recession

  • Take this issue seriously, very seriously.  Become informed about what your employees are going through.  Understand the nature of the challenge you face as the leader of distressed employees and the impact of this on their productivity and the company’s profit.
  • Get in touch with your own emotions and the impact the events of the past months have had on you personally – emotionally, physically, behaviorally and cognitively.
  • Create a picture of the kind of leader you would like to become, understanding that the leader you have been up to now is no longer good enough.  What leadership behaviors will you need to abandon and what new behaviors will you need to acquire?  What about your communication skills?  How will these need to be improved to be relevant to the current environment? 
  • Obtain  feedback from others around you– but choose people who will tell you the truth, not what you want to hear.  Leadership Assestment Review

  • Find the best program or person who can assist you in updating your skills and become the leader you want to become.   Try Sandy Gluckman

Phase 2    Formulate and Work the New Corporate Dream

(Caution: Do not attempt this step until you have completed Phase 1)

You are sitting on a huge potential explosion in productivity — if you could just revitalize the fighting spirit of the employees and strengthen that glimmer of hope they have. Create an exciting vision of greatness that the company can realistically achieve.  I know that most companies have a vision statement but I am suggesting something different.  I am suggesting that as leaders in a turbulent time such as this we need to revisit that vision and create one that is appropriate to what is happening today and what needs to happen tomorrow.

Corporate VisionBuilding a Vision

Build an exciting story around the vision – people relate to stories and remember them easily.

 This vision story becomes the inspiration for the company from boardroom to backroom and keeps people going.   Steve Jobs did this magnificently well when he returned to a broken company after a long exile.  His vision was to become ‘the creative innovators who Dare to Think Different’ and he told a simple yet powerful and emotional story to employees and customers about how they would evolve from being a from a marginalized player vanquished in the battle for market share to becoming the home of a small but enviable elite: the creative innovators who dared to “Think different.” And that’s what they are today!

Once you have the vision – be sure to communicate it in a way that lifts the spirit of the people. I highly recommend that you find a non-traditional, creative, interactive way to develop the vision as well as to communicate it.    Sandy Gluckman is an ideal candidate for this.

And finally, once you have communicated the vision, keep it alive by constantly referring to it, use it in all decision-making and tell the story over and over again.

Phase 3    Share Your Spirit with the Employees

(Caution: Do not attempt this step until you have completed Phase 1).

Validate the feelings of your employees.  It is counter-productive to proceed as though everything is okay.  It is not okay. Show that you understand that this is probably the toughest time of their lives…because it is the toughest time of your life. Tell a personal story that will let them feel that you too are deeply impacted by the events of 2008.  Make sure that you are being authentic and real about this.  Nobody likes to be told that you know how vulnerable they feel without you sharing your own vulnerability.  They will perceive it as patronizing if you say you know how they feel without expressing similar feelings of your own.

If you do not have personal feelings or a personal story you can share then I would advise that you work with a talented leadership coach.   Your have these feelings and this story inside you.

Spirited people can produce extraordinary performance.  Dis-spirited people cannot be productive. American needs to get its spirit back.  And corporate leaders can be major players in making this happen by being prepared to learn new ways of behaving and communicating in order to change the current dis-spirited psyche of employees to one of great spirit and courage.

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