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Refine your team and boost morale by showing them how to deal with the crisis in creative ways.
Refine your team and boost morale by showing them how to deal with the crisis in creative ways.

Now, more than ever, you need your team on board

In the most difficult trading conditions, valuing your employees is critically important. DAVID BROWN explains how to lead your staff to inspire their loyalty and increase productivity.

Recent experiences have been tough on everyone. Some of you will have had to deal with the harsh reality of letting staff go, with no idea as to whether demand for your services will return to previous levels any time soon.

Right now, it is easy to feel estranged from your staff – but the old saying that your people are your most important asset has never been more true.

Rather than being on the opposite side of the fence from you, they are on the same side, battling a common enemy with which we all must deal.

You need your staff and they need you.

Here are the key things your staff will be looking for from you for the rest of this year – and beyond.

If you can provide it, you will get the best of them in return.

• Leadership – Moments like this bring out true courage in adversity. People will naturally gravitate to those who show strength and a sense of purpose.

History is littered with examples to follow, so inspiration should never be far from your fingertips.

• Challenge – I’m sure there is no shortage of challenges right now! You will discover a lot about yourself in a time like this, and a lot about your staff.

During difficult periods, those employees with true strength and resilience will stand up and show the skills that you have been looking for the most.

Watch for the staff members who rise to meet each new challenge, rather than being overwhelmed or giving up responsibility when things don’t go to plan.

• Appreciation – Remember to thank all your hardworking staff.

If nothing else, lockdown has taught us the value of the small things; of appreciating others and remembering the little gestures that we can make to help each other through.

Remembering to show your gratitude for what your team does is invaluable right now and will help bring out the best in them.

• Empowerment – Now, more than ever, you don’t need to go it alone.

Members of your team will be ready to step up and shoulder new responsibilities as your own workload increases. 

You may find yourself running faster than ever just to try and keep up but be willing to pass the baton to those who are able to help you the most.

• Communication – Tell your employees what’s happening.

They know times are challenging, and sometimes we fear the unknown far more than the reality of what could happen.

Let them know how things truly stand and don’t feel you have to hold back.

Once they have the information on the specific problems you are facing, they can assist in developing solutions.

• Trust – Trust yourself and your employees. Communication and integrity naturally breed trust.

"During difficult periods, those employee with true strength and resilience will stand up and show the skills that you have been looking for the most"

While your staff may not always like what they hear, they will come to trust you and what you say if you consistently deliver on what you promise.

• Involvement – Contrary to popular opinion, most staff members don’t want to do the bare minimum and switch off at the first opportunity!

We are all eager to be part of something bigger than ourselves and your team are no exception.

Give them that chance by increasing their responsibilities and you may be delighted at the outcome.

• Patience – When changing a staff member’s role, not everything will go as smoothly as you hope, and progress may not be as quick.

However, if you do give your staff more responsibility, be patient with them while they come to grips with their new tasks and your expectations.

The long-term benefits to your business will be worth the wait.

• Humour – Yes, I’ve included humour on this list. It may not seem like a prerequisite to developing a positive staff relationship, but with so much seriousness happening at the moment, a little levity can go a long way.

Humour is important for the wellbeing of your staff and yourself as well.

Sometimes a joke and a smile can take the edge off a situation and reduce tension, helping foster a sense ofco-operation and camaraderie.

• Empathy – You are suffering hardships and so are your staff.

Understand that things won’t be easy for them for the foreseeable future either.

Within reason, be prepared to listen and support the personal issues they may be battling as a result of the current crisis.

In conclusion, by focusing on these 10 areas of staff management, you will harness the power of your team and thereby make your own business challenges easier to overcome.

At the same time, you will inspire your staff’s loyalty and ensure they give you their best – both now, and when the crisis has passed.

David Brown

Contributor • Retail Edge Consultants

David Brown is co-founder and business mentor with Retail Edge Consultants. Learn more:

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