As an outplacement firm, it is a main concern of ours to help guide management through times of transition in the company. Although most of this guidance is aimed toward communicating and assisting those transitioning employees, management needs some love too. Helping management keep their cool in chaotic times sets a standard and a tone for how this particular transition will go. If management loses it, everyone loses it. Management’s attitude and demeanor sets the precedence for what is acceptable. Plus, it’s always nice when company leaders don’t lose their minds. Here are some ways to help management keep their cool during times of transition.
1) Maintain Business as Usual
In the midst of trying times, it is easy to let daily tasks fall to the wayside. Stress and additional workload can really affect everyday duties. Management can sometimes gets caught up in problem solving and abandon their usual responsibilities. It’s vital to keep the mindset that this is business as usual. There will be kinks and bumps in the lifecycle of any business, it’s important to keep calm and carry on. Issues like layoffs or firings will require more attention and time, therefore, it is important to guide management in prioritizing issues as they arise.
While leading management through the responsibilities of a business transition it is important to manage expectations. Customers, clients and employees alike need to know if there will be changes and what they can expect to come. If you cannot deliver business as usual, be honest about that and let everyone know what you can deliver.
2) Encourage Breaks
Yes, there is probably more work to be done during times of transition, but a burnt out, frustrated manager won’t do anyone any good. Encourage management to work together and be honest about what they can handle and what they may need help on. When everyone is in the fire, hoping in there with them won’t do any good. They need to be pulled out. Recognize when someone needs a moment to himself or herself and ensure that it happens. Employees and even leaders will often internalize frustration to a breaking point. Kevin Daum of Inc. said,
“Hyperventilation never helps anyone, so take a few deep breaths and relax. If everyone stays focused and steady, much more can be accomplished in less time, making everyone more comfortable.”
We received some helpful insights on executive emotional intelligence from Rob Fazio in a recent webinar. A lot of what Rob talked about was reading yourself, situations and others. When managers read themselves, they can gain insights into what makes them tick, what angers them and what stresses them out. As managers learn to read situations they can make better decisions on how to move forward and handle the issues at hand. It is also vital that management learns to read those around them. According to Fazio,
“Reading people is the ability to accurately interpret verbal and non verbal communication and awareness of your impact on others.”
4) Look the Part
A huge part of keeping the office sane is how management presents themselves. Displaying a simple and calm smile in the office can make a big difference. Attitudes are contagious and body language plays a significant part in displaying that. Employees, customers and clients will be looking for cues from management off of which to base their own reactions and attitudes. When management appears cool, calm and collected, that is how their team will be. When people smile, it has an effect on their attitude. According to a Forbes article, “Why Faking a Smile is a Good Thing”, contributor and marketing pro, Rodger Dooley said,
“Pasting a smile on your face, even if you are consciously faking it, can improve your mood and reduce stress.”
Leading a team through any transition can be stressful. Whether the company is downsizing, restructuring or just going through hard times, it is important that leadership be consistent and strong. When management breaks down during stressful times, it can have a ripple effect throughout the company long after the issues have been resolved. Maintaining a strong employer brand starts on top.