By Michael Kerr
I had three calls last week from clients who are experiencing huge levels of anxiety and uncertainty at work. Whether it’s the Coronavirus, impending layoffs, or the plunging price of oil, without a doubt there is a lot of uncertainty and stress in some quarters. I’ll be facilitating a webinar in a few weeks on how to create a more resilient workplace culture, but in the meantime here are a few thoughts:
- During times of uncertainty, you have to redouble your efforts to be even more intentional about your culture and living your values out loud. As I often say, it’s easy to live your values when times are good. It’s during challenging times when you need to step up and treat your values like lines in the sand and avoid making rash decisions that don’t align with your core values.
- Communication is everything, even when you have nothing to communicate (it’s okay to say you don’t have all the answers, but you still need to say it). Rumors and gossip fill a communication vacuum, and it’s thought that leaders under-communicate by a factor of 10 during challenging times! Employees need to hear from their leaders and employees need to be heard.
- Be even more intentional about planning some fun events and injecting some humor into your workplace. Fear and anxiety are highly contagious emotions, but so too are optimism and joy! It’s when times are most challenging that you need to reinforce the importance of keeping your collective sense of humor. Keep in mind, there’s a difference between laughing at a crisis vs. using humor to help us cope with a crisis. And yes, some black humor may creep into your workplace, but understand that ‘gallows humor’ is a normal reaction during stressful times.
- Be extra kind to one another. This is no small thing. When times get challenging we all need to embrace our common humanity, appreciate one another even more, and actively demonstrate that we have each other’s back.