What we could do when the chips are down

In fact, that is the occasion for everyone to pitch in his best instead of sulking or crying over spilt milk.Enthusing team members when the going is not good is a matter of leadership. However, our business leaders, barring exceptions, have taken the easy way out - sacking people and downsizing business and taking pay-cuts, voluntarily and not so voluntarily.

Essential quality

Team spirit is not something one can buy. It is the sum total of all the convictions of the members of the team. If a doubting Thomas thinks that the task given is too tough, the battle is already lost.

On the other hand, if a member is so charged that he thinks he can do the impossible, some one or the other is likely to be motivated to follow suit. Just like negative vibes, positive vibes too travel fast. That is the reason why an optimistic approach is recommended instead of adopting a defeatist attitude. It is like losing the battle before even a single shot is fired. One has to have a strong conviction to succeed.

Onus on leader

 The onus is on the leader to inspire his people by his personal example. If a shipment is due next week, he simply does not sit in his office and order his workforce to work hard. He is ever present on the shop floor to straighten the bugs but does not like to step on the toes of his subordinates.

He is not a master chaser but a facilitator of work. If over-time is needed, he stays back and works shoulder to shoulder with his people. Such a camaraderie is what the employees want when the going is tough. They are sure that with such active participation of the boss matters will be sorted out faster in case of problems.      A leader may not be the fountainhead of all knowledge. As such, he does not pretend to have all the answers to the questions of his people. He is honest enough to admit that he does not know but he could arrange to get someone who is likely to have the answers.

Such openness, instead of lowering his esteem in the eyes of the subordinates, would enhance it for being so honest and straightforward. They will think that he is after all human and not a demi-god to be worshipped. The more honest and transparent he is with his people the better for enhanced team spirit.

Inherent capacity

Every individual has the capacity to excel himself. He is pleasantly surprised that he has so much reserve energy waiting to be tapped. What is needed is a tiny spark to kindle that flame to scale greater heights.

 In these difficult times, it is necessary to become a multi-task person so that that a person’s employability improves in the shrinking employment market. Such an employee certainly has an edge over another who do not possess such multi-skills. Innovation is the need of the hour.

 If the company was concentrating on exports to the USA, due to poor sales in that country, the exporter has to investigate other countries where the business could succeed.

Moreover, even the product mix might have to be altered to suit a changed market condition. For instance, personal and health care products are still needed even when the economy is not so good. As an expert has stated, “One would like to look good even when the economy is bad.”     

 The CEO has the onus of instilling confidence in his team members by assuring them the company would all it could to see through difficult times. He would request every employee to rise to the occasion and give out his best, keeping the cost low.

The writer is Consultant Q & M

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