How should I help my employees with ongoing anxiety about the economy?
Coach: Morrie Shechtman, management consultant and psychotherapist specializing in change; author of Fifth Wave Leadership: The Internal Frontier
Always address everyone in groups. One-to-one meetings are real time-killers. The group is a much more effective change agent. Concentrate on one thing to offer that doesn't cost anything: personal growth. Who employees are as people is one of the most important facets of what they bring to the company. Many people fear receiving or giving feedback; they don't want to show weakness or make someone uncomfortable. But put them in the right setting and they may provide clear and compelling feedback.
Sometimes you need to adapt your approach to the employee. If someone is focused personally, they can concentrate on their work. If you only set professional goals, the person doesn't accomplish as much for you.
Today, people stay in school longer and postpone life experience. Maturation is delayed. Look at the generation of people who are 40, 50, 60. What life experience did they have in their 20s? They were married, maybe raising a family and owning a home. That is rarely the experience of 20- and 30-year-olds [now]. If you don't work with people on their personal development, you have an emotional 15-year-old working on your programming.
Never [disregard] how scary these times are. Everyone's feeling it. Don't let it become an underground movement of shame and fear. Everyone's scared they will get fired or not get promoted or lose everything they've worked for. If you don't talk about it, it emotionally constipates them and they're not able to focus.
Morrie Shechtman was interviewed by Senior Editor Kim S. Nash.
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