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The 3 C's for Leading in Tough Times

210348436_a3f3115ca5_m.jpgAs a manager, you're undoubtedly feeling pressure to get the most out of your team in these trying economic times. But it can be easy to push your people too hard or, worse, pass along your anxieties to them, causing a productivity backlash and lowering morale and motivation.

How to walk the fine line between getting everyone to pull their weight and keeping a cool head? Professor Christopher Bones, dean of Henley Business School at the University of Reading in the U.K., suggests following three C's -- communication, clarity, and commitment -- to get through the recession both personally and professionally.

  • Communication: Tell your staff what the current market conditions mean to your business and how big the problem truly is. If jobs or earnings are at risk, letting your team know the stakes can both explain the added pressure on them and encourage them to pull together to achieve success.
  • Clarity: A clear plan of action is essential. As a manager, it's your job to look for new business markets or for opportunities to reduce operational costs. Depending on your organizational situation, you might even want to encourage brainstorming with your staff to help build engagement and allow employees a greater sense of control over their destinies.
  • Commitment: When a plan is in place, allocate responsibility and accountability among all team members. Short weekly meetings allowing employees to report on progress and request help or advice can foster a common purpose and help reduce anxiety.
These guidelines form the sound basis for a management strategy even in prosperous periods, but they're more critical as the financial forecasts become more gloomy.

Any other suggestions for leading in tough times? Share them in the comments.

(image by David Boyle in DC via Flickr, CC 2.0)

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