Forecasts of economic doom following the recent announcement that UK GDP shrank by a record 20% in April; political tensions and polarised perspectives, which seem to dominate the national news agenda, can fuel a climate of concern during times of great change.
And yet the innovation required to drive business growth is characterised by optimism and the positive belief that we can improve, adapt and gain competitive advantage.
So how, as business leaders, can we navigate a course that steers our teams through the channels of negativity and anxiety, into a positive and productive frame of mind?
Previously, we discussed the nine emotions of change and steps leaders can take to lead their staff and business through the Change Curve.
The Change Curve charts how energy levels and morale go down before they come up in any change. Another word for energy levels is ‘confidence’ and that’s much discussed in the news currently.
So, what can you do as a leader of your business, department or team?
It’s time to dissipate the height of negative emotions with optimism. It is crucial that you retain optimism and belief. You cannot influence world events or macro-economic matters across the UK. What you have is enormous influence on those around you in the workplace, whether that’s in an office, a factory, or both.
Your people are probably uncertain as lockdown restrictions are relaxed and looking to you for some guidance. They may be unsettled by reports in the media. Point them towards what they can influence – the task the client is paying for. Now more than ever, your encouragement, your positivity and your belief in what you are doing as a business will give your team the necessary confidence to stick together. This will energise your people. Your leadership matters.”
Every department and team will have some positive, open minded and super-loyal people (referred to as the top 20%) and some who are the exact opposite, moaners and stirrers (the bottom 20%). Our advice is to focus your time and energy on the top 20% with a sense of optimism relating to general business conditions. The mid 60% will follow the top 20% as they want the same attention.
Now’s the time to prepare for a drop in confidence among your teams. That’s a natural response to uncertainty and requires empathy from the leader.