what should be the approach to managing and leading people ? Here are a few guidelines drawn from my own practice and conversations I have had with senior executives and staff in companies that are handling their people well.

  • Be visible. Walk around, hold meetings and speak in small groups
  • Be as open, honest, fair and decent as possible
  • Be serious and realistic but remain positive and hopeful for the future
  • Keep people in the picture even when there is little concrete news. Share as much information as you are able — in person, in meetings and through frequent updates — about the challenges the company is facing and how it is performing. If you don’t know what’s going on, say so.
  • Give people frequent opportunities to discuss and ask questions about the situation
  • Be a role model. Do your job well and stay positive. This will ensure there is a positive mood in the office and that morale is high so people can work with fewer distractions.
  • Engage your staff — leverage their expertise, involve them in decisions and remind them of the shared responsibility to pull the organisation through the crisis.
  • Encourage and motivate people through positive feedback and extra help if they are struggling. Don’t be over-critical as this may backfire on you.
  • Let your people know how much you value them. This can be done through positive feedback, recognition and rewards such as small gifts or flexible working. If people feel they are valued, you will have their loyalty and support.
  • Keep an eye on your peoples’ health and wellbeing.
  • Ensure that you have good training and development programmes in place — these are a good investment for the future and will pay dividends when the organization has come through. Coaching and mentoring also foster self-reliance and self-worth, which are important factors when it comes to keeping motivation high.

These are just a few ideas for keeping your team on track and ensuring that your people skills remained sharp. What is your experience of managing or being managed? Have you found it tough to give people attention when there are so many pressing business issues? Have your boss and company been supportive to you ? Have you — or your boss — changed styles? If so, what have been the effects?

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