10 Top Tips to Engage your People in Uncertain Times 

1. Leaders lead

People need to understand how uncertainty is affecting the business. If not commercially sensitive, they need to understand the good, the bad and the ugly. Unless they understand the impact, they are unable to engage in contributing to and adapting to the changes needed.

2. Start with the purpose

Describe the need for change, in a way that energises your people to want to contribute to making it happen. All communication and decisions that follow have to underpin and mirror this statement.

3. Followership

Your people follow your leadership, they copy what you do and how you behave.  Identify what you need to be doing differently and how you need to adapt your individual and collective leadership behaviours to demonstrate your own commitment and ability to change. This must include what you do (your actions) and how you do it (your behaviours).

4. Managers manage

It is your managers who have to respond to the changing needs of your business and the reactions from their people and customers. What support do they need to be able to adapt to the changes so that they and their staff continue to deliver business results?

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Communication can be a cancer or a catalyst for change. Too little and people create their own version of reality. Their reality is often worse than reality itself. Lack of information and clarity fuels high levels of negative conversations and wasted time.  At worst this can lead to key staff leaving the business and problems attracting and recruiting talent.

6. Be open and honest in your communication

Create opportunities for two way face to face communication so that people can ask questions, to clarify and really understand what is happening and how they and your business need to adapt to grow.

7. Involve, involve, involve

Your staff have the solutions to your challenges and opportunities. Create an environment that trusts them to develop the right solutions to achieve the changes needed. This is an environment that encourages staff to take risks and innovate, in the knowledge that they will be supported. An environment where mistakes are an opportunity to share and learn.

8. Line of sight

Create a line of sight that sets clear expectations for everyone. This must include what they do (their actions) and how they do it (their behaviours). Set clear objectives that are defined, agreed and reviewed with each team member during regular 121 catch ups. Equip managers to support their teams and hold staff to account. Invest time in developing individuals to achieve their work and personal goals. 

9. Feedback

Equip everyone with the skills to provide effective feedback.  Feedback that is underpinned with the intention to help the other person improve. This has to include both what they do (their actions) and how they do it (their behaviours).

10. Alignment

Identify the priority changes needed to align people, technology and processes to embed your changes and deliver business benefits.

Fiona Anderson, Regional Ambassador for Birmingham and Steering Group member shares her thoughts and insights

Photo by Josep Castells on Unsplash

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