December 30, 2008

Leadership Reflections

2008 is coming to a close. The new year will soon be upon us. It is a good time to reflect.
  • What have you as a leader accomplished this year, both personally and professionally?
  • What are your goals for 2009?
It has been a difficult year financially for many businesses and if the economists are correct, 2009 will continue to be a challenge. It is not time to despair, however, but time to take a step back and consider whether you are on the right track. Are you doing work you love? Is your business strategically set up for managing during these troubling times? Is your personal life fulfilling? Are you attending to your physical health? What are you doing to manage the stress?

Down times can also provide opportunities---opportunities for innovative solutions...for redirection and renewal....for connecting more with what is really important to you.

And those are my 2008 reflections, coming from a true optimist!

December 5, 2008

Leading through difficult times

These are the times that really challenge one's leadership capabilities and the one issue that challenges a leader more than anything is the need to downsize. It is something all managers hate but is sometimes unavoidable. We are currently seeing many layoffs and there will be more in the coming year(s).

As someone who has worked with many companies and individuals experiencing restructuring and downsizing one thing is very clear: HOW these transitions are handled will have a major impact on those involved. And there are 3 things that really need to happen: communicate, communicate, and communicate!

Most leaders communicate less about what is happening then they should. They may think it best to keep things quiet so as not to generate fear and anxiety. Yet the lack of information is often more anxiety-provoking than anything and can lead to a culture of fear.

There is also an assumption that once told, you are done. WRONG. You need to tell, re-tell and tell again. You need to ask, listen, and hear. You need to reassure, remind and re-state. This is true with pre-org planning, during the downsizing process and afterward.

Don't avoid having the difficult conversations, it only makes it worse.

And remember, the employees who stay may feel relief, but they are watching very closely as they determine whether employees in this company are a valued asset or a disposable commodity.