Sunday, April 19, 2009

Moving ahead during tough times

It is a seesaw-like situation for executives in the corporate world as each executive tries to justify his personal and professional goals. Pressure times compel top class executives to reveal their true personality. Their determination and composure in such tiring situations reveal their leadership qualities. However each employee can be a leader in his own stride by inculcating perseverance to survive in today's tough world.

Fear factor

Often pressure builds a sense of urgency and forces an individual to arrive at logical solutions for practical problems. When an employee is apprehensive of the outcome of a business strategy he generally tends to evade it thereby complicating the situation. Evading must be the last thing on an employee's mind if survival is his goal.

Away from...

To mobilise organisations, immediacy must be created. Employees though slip into a fear psychosis when faced with immediacy. Fear moves them into immediate action but not necessarily in the same direction. Therefore, all that fear does is to misalign the efforts of individual leaders to motivate employees towards common goals. Fear only brings to naught leaders' efforts to motivate employees. This is further compounded by the stress it produces.

Corporate health

Stress is the causative factor for many an ailment in the corporate health, leave alone employee personal health. Stressful employees lack creativity and become inefficient. Their perspectives are narrowed down and their problem-solving abilities slacken and learning ceases. Even employee morale diminishes leading to disengagement. Disengagement cannot contribute to peak performance!

The motivating duo

The duo that influences the success of businesses is fear and quite surprisingly leadership. Truly, fear scatters the efforts of employees in random directions. Leadership balances the negative effects of fear in employees by aligning their goals in the desired direction.

Sharing is winning

Pre- defined goals help employees visualise the path they would be treading. Sharing the organisation's vision, mission and values is key to its success.

Good, bad and the best

Identification of ultimate goals unlocks creativity, enhances problem-solving skills and helps utilise resources towards a purposeful mental state. Working towards challenging goals, creates eustress, a positive stress syndrome, which channelises energy. However, directionless movement creates bad stress. The balance between the good and bad stress needs to be delicately managed. Coordination is crucial here. Lack of coordination could paralyse an employee's ability to take on challenges. Therefore, good stress and coordination must complement each other.

The pull effect

Pulling the workforce back into powerful, productive mental state requires effective leadership. Leaders must be positive and shun negative attitudes at the workplace to radiate stress effectively. Spreading positive feelings throughout the team creates intrinsic motivation.

Towards leadership

Extraordinary leaders thrive despite the restrictions imposed by tough and challenging times. That every employee is a leader in himself implies that there must be a storehouse of some intangible inherent characteristics.

Bigger is better. The leader must view the problem in its entirety not in parts. Vision differentiates a leader from a follower. It helps him disentangle the nitty-gritties of a problem that prevent him from resolving it.

Fire from within. Unwarranted faultfinding leads to ineffective teamwork. Leaders must act rationally and objectively, without being carried away by internal conflicts.

First and foremost. Sacrifice is an important characteristic of a good leader. A leader who sacrifices first for his team will earn the loyalty of his subordinates and colleagues.

Calm and composed. A relaxed mind enables employees to make better decisions.
Move them forward. Leaders emphasise on being optimistic motivators during rough times, thereby moving the employees forward towards their goals.

Small leads to the big. Goals must be split into smaller achievable targets. Employees must be rewarded when those goals are achieved. A consistent win in small goals keeps the track of success steady for the employees while motivating them.

Have more of humour. A decent sense of humour even during tough times helps maintain the tempo of work/life balance.

Tripod balance

A motivated team relies on the tripod stand fundamental. So building a motivated team during hardships requires the top management to hire, train and communicate constantly.
Hiring the best is essential because, they make the job of motivating easier. A bad hire for the right job is difficult to motivate.

All employees cannot be perfect but are undoubtedly trainable. A right mix of technical skills, people skills and self-management skills is essential for appropriate training. Training must not only be appropriate, but also adequate. Once trained, employees must be encouraged to take a holistic perspective of their company and replenish their capacity for creativity.

Training promotes competence and therefore, confidence, the latter being an internal motivator. Competence also reduces stress and increases productivity besides improving attitude.

If employees' contributions are not acknowledged, they get demotivated and withdraw. Employees work enthusiastically if their ideas are valued. Talking about uncertain situations help defuse anxiety, which may lead to stress. Truth is an antidote for uncertainty. Therefore, constant communication is an imperative.

Reconnecting people

Once stress is reduced, the onus lies on the leaders to provide a direction to the employees and motivate them adequately and appropriately. Over-motivating the employees could have negative impact too, so leaders must be cautious.

Productivity is about moving forward in a uniform direction once it has been determined with the team consensus. Anxiety and fear are imaginary monsters and employees must avoid fighting them to perform well.

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