10 Lessons for Managing in Tough Times


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Managing in difficult and challenging times in any organization is tough. For managers, it can be extremely stressful and gritty. For employees, tough times lead to anxiety and uncertainty. And yet there is still a job to do. Here are ten tips to help you manage and lead teams more effectively in difficult times that I have learned over my management career.

The Manager's Resource Handbook is an online source of tools, templates and articles relating to business and management in the global environment. Our mission is the help managers and businesses succeed through the benefit of our experience. You can contact us at http://www.managersresourcehandbook.com.

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10 Lessons for Managing in Tough Times

  1. 1. 10 Lessons for Managing in Tough Times That I Learned the Hard Way managers resource handbook.com
  2. 2. Let’s face it…
  3. 3. …business can be complicated. It can be messy.
  4. 4. There are internal challenges, external forces and unpredictable events that can impact an organization.
  5. 5. There are peaks and valleys to things like revenue, employment and morale.
  6. 6. As managers, our job is to accelerate in good times…
  7. 7. …. And just keep the train on the tracks when things are less than good.
  8. 8. Stepping on the gas to accelerate is not too hard,
  9. 9. But, man, holding things together is far from easy.
  10. 10. I’ve been through both with some success…
  11. 11. … and a good amount of failure.
  12. 12. I want to share with you some of those learnings, to help you manage more effectively.
  13. 13. Because ultimately, we all just want to go home and get to what it is we enjoy.
  14. 14. Let’s get started…
  15. 15. 1. It’s Not Just Nuclear War
  16. 16. It doesn’t have to be the Cuban Missile Crisis...
  17. 17. Nor does it have to be the Great Depression of the 1930s…
  18. 18. …Or storms of Biblical proportions...
  19. 19. …for times to be tough.
  20. 20. Tough times can result from layoffs or restructuring,
  21. 21. The departure of key personnel,
  22. 22. Or simply a critical phase of a high profile project.
  23. 23. So keep your eyes and ears open and pay attention to your team.
  24. 24. Even though it might not be on the evening news, doesn’t mean it’s not important.
  25. 25. 2. Remain Committed to People
  26. 26. As a manager, your people are what make you successful.
  27. 27. So your actions as a leader carry tremendous weight when times are tough...
  28. 28. … and those decisions will impact people.
  29. 29. So don’t forget them. They have memories.
  30. 30. And will remember your actions when things get better. Because they will get better.
  31. 31. 3. Focus on What You Can Do
  32. 32. Your team members can not change the situation.
  33. 33. Just as you can not.
  34. 34. Focus on your span of control, and what it is your team does well.
  35. 35. Reduce priorities to the key few, and be crystal clear with your decisions.
  36. 36. Leave nothing to interpretation.
  37. 37. 4. Morale is a Virus
  38. 38. If your people see you stressed and negative, it will only make their stress and anxiety worse.
  39. 39. So keep a positive attitude…
  40. 40. …and a chin-up style, even if you’re secretly struggling as well. No matter what.
  41. 41. Your people will watch you closely and your positive attitude will help keep them calm.
  42. 42. And focused on the task at hand.
  43. 43. 5. Transparency is Everything
  44. 44. Be open and honest with your information.
  45. 45. Don’t be cryptic and don’t hold back.
  46. 46. And don’t speak in manager code, or whatever language it is that executives speak.
  47. 47. For better or worse.
  48. 48. Tell them what you know, when you know it.
  49. 49. It reduces fear and build trust in you…
  50. 50. As their leader and manager.
  51. 51. 6. Connect with the Individuals
  52. 52. Your people will respond to struggle in different ways. That’s what makes them unique.
  53. 53. Don’t talk in generalities.
  54. 54. Or be inhuman.
  55. 55. Take time to talk to each person to find out what their personal concerns are.
  56. 56. And make a connection to help reassure that you have their best interests in mind.
  57. 57. 7. Communicate Often
  58. 58. Radio silence when times are tough is poisonous to morale and fuel for fear.
  59. 59. Just because you may have been through it before,
  60. 60. Doesn’t mean that they have.
  61. 61. Any information is better than no information.
  62. 62. And don’t be secretive like it’s a matter of national security.
  63. 63. Just talk to them.
  64. 64. Let people know the plan (and make sure you have one).
  65. 65. 8. Trauma Needs Attention
  66. 66. When a trauma patient enters the Emergency Room…
  67. 67. Doctors don’t ask them what hurts…
  68. 68. …and walk away.
  69. 69. When your team is hurting and there is uncertainty or struggle,
  70. 70. Don’t just ask them where they hurt and walk away.
  71. 71. Find some sort of help, or medicine to make things a little easier.
  72. 72. A happy hour, a day off, relief of a deadline, or even just a voice of reassurance that things will get better, is sometimes all it takes.
  73. 73. 9. Be the Karate Kid
  74. 74. Ukemi is a term in martial arts that can be described as the art of falling…
  75. 75. …in order to minimize the damage.
  76. 76. Sometimes, when there are just too many forces at work, too many unknowns or things to juggle,
  77. 77. Success becomes unlikely.
  78. 78. And you as a manager will need to decide what to drop …
  79. 79. In order to protect the people, the team, and the organization,
  80. 80. … from the fall. Ukemi.
  81. 81. 10. Celebrate Success
  82. 82. In times of adversity, it often comes down to succeeding through small victories.
  83. 83. Celebrate those wins, those victories.
  84. 84. Because turning things around always starts with a small victory.
  85. 85. It boosts morale…
  86. 86. …and helps take the edge off for even a few short moments.
  87. 87. Small victories.
  88. 88. So there you have it.
  89. 89. 10 lessons for managing in tough times that I have learned over the years.
  90. 90. I hope this helps.
  91. 91. And for those of you who are dealing with tough times right now…
  92. 92. Here is one more thing I forgot to mention…
  93. 93. Like a kidney stone….
  94. 94. …this too shall pass. Chin up.
  95. 95. We are here to help.
  96. 96. The Manager's Resource Handbook is an online source of tools, templates and articles relating to business and management in the global environment. Our mission is the help managers and businesses succeed through the benefit of our experience. You can contact us at http://www.managersresourcehandbook.com.