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Five Ways to Motivate Your Team with Empathy and Authority

Leadership during a crises

Leadership during a crises

No matter how well you run a business, external forces will test you, your culture, and your resolve.

Your employees will be watching to see how confident you are, how clearly you see the situation, and signs that everything will be OK.

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Five Ways to Motivate Your Team with Empathy and Authority

Five Ways to Motivate Your Team with Empathy and Authority

https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/five-ways-to-motivate-your-team-with-empathy-and-authority/

sloanreview.mit.edu

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Key Ideas

Leadership during a crises

No matter how well you run a business, external forces will test you, your culture, and your resolve.

Your employees will be watching to see how confident you are, how clearly you see the situation, and signs that everything will be OK.

Communication techniques for difficult times

... to help you connect with, motivate, and build trust with your employees:

  • Send out situational information that is clear and measured about what you are doing about the business, and what employees could do to help.
  • Let your employees ask questions: Asking them makes them "feel" heard.
  • Tell stories: Stories are a powerful way to make people feel they are part of a shared culture.
  • Leverage symbols: Look out for new symbols that can impart the meaning of hope.
  • State and restate your vision: A strong and consistent company vision helps your team members feel like they're building something great.

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Have Fun Together

During times of stress, intentionally building relationships and creating positive experiences within your team is vital.

Plan team-building activities, or even a simple happy hour. In...

Fight For Your Team

Ensure your team knows through your actions and words that you have their backs. 

Whether it's ensuring resources or acknowledgment for their efforts, standing up for your employees shows them that you are focused on their well-being and recognize their value. This builds loyalty and trust, and it certainly improves morale on your team and contributes to a more positive working environment, especially in periods of crisis.

Reinforce The Vision

When a team is experiencing adversity, unify them around common objectives and show their effort’s impact on the organization and the lives of others to revive their sense of purpose.

Find ways to remind your team of what they enjoy about their jobs and the value they add to others' lives. When people are inspired, they will look beyond themselves and work with passion to pursue the goals set before them, and both the individual and the organization will be better for it.

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What's to gain for Leaders through storytelling?

  • Can keep a consistent focus on the vision of the company
  • affirm faith in the near term intent of the leadership, 
  • strengthen brand loyalty,&nbs...

Two considerations when employing storytelling.

  • Invest in a highly competent Director of Communication.
  • Be central in choosing stories.
  • Personally convey your vision in compelling stories.

A long-term response

Global crises are always challenging to navigate. When the time for immediate response passes, we have to dig in for the long haul.

Factors that influence operations going forward will ...

An employee-driven approach

Employees' health and well-being should come first. There may be a perceived choice between productivity and well-being. But, engagement is a natural by-product of well-being.

People are worried about health, job security, their kids' education, life on the other side of the crisis. Micro-managing will not create focus. Tactics like time-tracking software will only compound the problem. Instead, focus on easing their fears. The more distractions we as leaders can clear away, the more effective our people will be.

Guiding principles for a crisis response

  • Part of the response is to hold performance and growth check-ins to acknowledge the contribution each employee is making and help them manage their longer-term professional goals.
  • Err on the side of overcommunicating. Create a communication plan and be consistent. E.g., a daily email from the heads of each unit, or video messages from the CEO. Share even the bad news, to prevent employees from inventing their own stories to fill the void.
  • Keep a tight feedback loop. Know how your employees are coping, how their work is affected, and how they think leadership can help.
  • Be mindful of the resources you're consuming. Don't consume additional masks, disinfectants, and other supplies that hospitals need.

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