In the current economic climate, companies across the world are trying to figure out how to best weather the storm. Layoffs have seemingly become the norm; just google “layoffs” or look here and you’ll see what I mean. Such dire circumstances leave many wondering about the fate of their jobs, their families, and their futures. It is easy to get consumed with fear and anxiety under such conditions. However, it is just this type of response that could create the least desired outcome. As managers are told to make reductions, they are surely going to look to keep those individuals that have a history of solid performance, a “can do” attitude and are pulling themselves above the negativity and looking toward, and helping to create, a better tomorrow.
Often times I have discussed how leaders must set the example by which all should follow. And one of my favorite leadership gurus, John Baldoni, wrote a fantastic book on this very topic entitled “Lead by Example: 50 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Results.” And, to be sure, I always believe that leaders must act in accordance to this notion. However, in distressing times such as those we now find ourselves, I would encourage all to do what is in the best interests of the company and not simply wait for a leader’s direction. Many leaders or managers are now focusing on the survival of the business and tending to internal measures that must be implemented to ensure the company’s longer term viability. So, this could leave a situation in which the leader is not as visible or accessible as usual and not doling out directions.
Under such a scenario, you need to focus on the tasks you have, especially those that can generate bottom line benefits for the company, be it sales calls, cost cutting measures, etc. This is not to imply that every person ought to act on their own without regard for the bigger picture. Rather, it is to suggest that action in the direction of these standard company objectives is paramount and must be done even in the absence of a leader’s instruction. Doing so will not only provide benefits for the company, but show management why it is you are needed for the future success of the company. It will surely make you stand out from others who may be wallowing in concerns about their very own futures – an action which ultimately leads to an undesirable, self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. Remember, as Stephanie Mead suggests, everyone contributes to the bottom line.
Nina Nets It Out: As they say, extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary responses. We are surely seeing this play out in our political spectrum at the highest levels. However, such measures are not unique to politics and in our corporations, we are seeing extraordinary things happen on practically a daily basis. To show why you are so valuable and worth keeping, be sure to go above and beyond to do the necessary things to ensure the sustainability of the company, and thereby your own career.
Thank you for the kind mention of Lead By Example.
You raise a valid point about urgency creating the impetus for action.
Wise counsel, indeed.
Someone once told me that to be a great leader, you must share your knowledge. In that spirit, I am pleased to encourage my readers to read your excellent book. Thanks for your comment and your continuous counsel via your writings!
Good advice, Nina. Another example of recession being the economy’s way to remind you to do what you should have been doing all along.
Wally, how right you are. But, I guess whatever serves as the catalyst, at least we get back to doing what is needed.
Nice post. These are challenging times for leaders, and you are so right, it’s no time to sit back and wait to be told what to do next.
Thanks for your comment. These times remind me of Will Rogers’ quote – “Chaotic action is preferable to orderly inaction.” We must all understand what actions are needed and take them accordingly!
Great point, Nina. Employees SHOULD continue productivity, even if their supervisor is unavailable. And they should also display an optimistic, can-do attitude, even if their supervisor is not. Ideally, supervisors would set the example in that area, but some simply can’t right now, for whatever reason. You’re the first I’ve seen who’s pointed out that employee attitude can actually be a survival strategy of sorts.
Attitude can carry one much further than they may even believe themselves. And, especially in difficult times, maintaining a positive attitude can yield tremendous results. Thanks for your comment and readership!
Thanks for commenting on my blog, Nina, and for inviting me to visit yours — it’s fantastic! I’m now a subscriber. /Stew
Thanks for your readership and I always welcome any thoughts you might offer in addition to encouraging my readers to enjoy your writings as well on http://www.totalleadership.org.