Building Employee Confidence

My sales are down; employees worried and even the air in my shop is heavy. Is there anything I can do as the owner to communicate something positive to my employees so business stays on track even if profit margins are thinner? Your leadership is the primary key in making this change. It’s important – in spite of the media spewing negativity all day long – for owners and managers of any size business to refocus staff off the doom and gloom and onto the bottom line. Bathed in negativity at every turn will naturally create survival attitudes. Any water cooler discussions like “I’m probably going to lose my job”; “I’ll bet he makes more than me” and others, will ultimately destroy the well-intentioned mission of any business. It’s bad enough when times are prosperous, but deadly if weathering an economic storm.  So what do you do about it? How do you change this tsunami of daily negativity? First, take stock of what YOU are thinking. Are you as fearful as your employees? If so, you have already set the tone. Have a heart to heart with yourself. Re-vitalize those early attitudes of courage when you started the business. Spread that gospel around – one that says “we will make it”. Get back on the offensive operationally. When operating on the defensive, your eyes are on the problem instead of creative solutions. Forgive me if this sounds Pollyanna, because it isn’t. Perhaps you will recognize attitude by another name – determination. Determination is simply a committed attitude. It is not the proverbial bull in a china shop where everything and everyone around it gets broken. It is a bull with focus on the lush grassy field at the opposite end of his existing pasture. He neither looks to the left or to the right, but keeps his eye on the target. It doesn’t mean that the bull won’t have a few fences to jump on his journey to the lush pasture, but most would agree that his determination (attitude/focus) will get him to where he wants to go. Attitude - a genuine heart change – could produce a very profitable 2009 for you in the midst of a recession – regardless of what CNN says. For some additional help with practical leadership skills, check out a book by Arbinger Institute entitled Leadership and Self-Deception.

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