Leading in the Crisis - 2

A few weeks ago, I posted an entry called "Leading in the Crisis," where I listed some of the key qualities that leaders need in this economic downturn.

In the subsequent weeks, I realized that much more needs to be said on this. So now it's a series, and here is the second installment.

At LinkedIn, consultant Robert "Jake" Jacobs asked "What kind of leadership is needed after layoffs?"

After a layoff, those who remain experience a mixture of emotions, including:

- shock at what happened

- sadness that some of their friends were fired

- anger toward management for failing to find alternatives to layoff

- fear that they might be let go in the next round

On top of that, the work that was being done by the former employees must now be distributed to those who remain.

The resulting workplace climate: overwork, stress, anxiety, and fear.

How do you lead in this sort of environment? I'd point to three vital skills for leaders at any level in an organization.

1. Leading self - Effective leadership starts with the person in the mirror. What do you see? Where are you going? What do you stand for? What will you commit to?

2. Leading others - In a post-layoff organization, the ones who remain have a common mission: survival. Look around you. Who needs your help? Whose help do you need? How will you engage them and support them in moving ahead?

3. Leading the organization - No matter what your role may be or where you fit in the organizational structure, you have the opportunity to play a leadership role in a time like this. Ask yourself: Where is the organization trying to go? What will it take to get there? How can you help it to get there? What actions can you take right now?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, February 8, 2009

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