Are the guidelines for managing people different in periods of high stress and anxiety? Probably not!

With Quarter 1 of 2010 behind us, Ron and I have seen an overall uptick across our client base when numbers were compared to 2009. Is this an economic recovery? It is too soon to call. There remains high uncertainty spawned by uneasiness in many external environments. World events/economics, fiscal policy, politics, unemployment, devaluation, credit availability  and many more has entrepreneurs edgy about the future. Business owners must consider that their employees have the same uneasiness and continue to feel stresses and anxiety.

This past week one of my clients shared with me her guidelines for managing people which were recently published on the Harvard Business Review web site by Melissa Raffoni. Introspection about today’s environment brought me to the conclusion that these basic guidelines will always work:

  1. Tell employees their role, tell them what to do, and give them the rules. Micro-managing? No, it’s called clear direction. Give them parameters so they can work within broad outlines.
  2. Discipline employees who are out of line.Time and time again, we hear, “I wish my boss would tell Nancy that this is just unacceptable.” Hold people accountable in a way that is fair but makes everyone cognizant of what is and is nott acceptable. Be consistent.
  3. Get employees excited. About the company, about the product, about the job, about a project. Just get them excited.
  4. Don’t forget to praise people. Motivate employees by leveraging their strengths, not harping on their weaknesses.
  5. Don’t scare people. They really don’t need to know about everything that worries you. They respect that you trust them, but you are the boss. And don’t lose your temper at meetings because they didn’t meet your expectations. It’s often not productive. Fairness and consistency are important mainstays.
  6. Impress your employees. Strong leaders impress their staffs in a variety of ways. Yes, some are great examples of management, but others are bold and courageous, and still others are creative and smart. Strong leaders bring strength to an organization by providing a characteristic that others don’t have and the company sorely needs.
  7. Give your employees some autonomy. Give them something interesting to work on. Trust them with opportunity.
  8. Set employees up to win. Nobody wants to fail. Indecisive leaders who keep people in the wrong roles, set unrealistic goals, keep unproductive team members, or change direction unfairly just frustrate everybody and make people feel defeated. Your job is to make it practical for people to succeed. When you do this, everybody wins.

Sometimes the basics work in any environment and we need to be reminded of them.  Opportunity Inc. (Ron and Paul) are coaches, catalysts for change, expert resources, trainers but regularly our clients teach us. We all must continue to learn and be reminded of the basics!