"When you lead through a recession, your positive team dynamics are under constant attack. There's a basic law in physics that energy tends to dissipate. That's why fires burn out, ice melts and balloons lose all their air. The energy it takes to promote a positive team dynamic works the very same way.
A team's energy is fueled by team values, shared goals and mutual accountability.
But here's the challenge: Recessions trigger uncertainty. Uncertainty triggers speculation, and speculation triggers chaotic stressful thinking.
It's like an ice cube melting in the hot Texas sun. And when an ice cube melts, all the water evaporates in different directions. Stressful thinking causes people to focus on self-interests. Team values, shared goals and mutual accountability take a backseat, and the team's energy evaporates in different, self-serving directions.
So what do you do? In a recession, you need timely, honest, consistent and two-way team communication. As the leader, you want to focus on what you know and avoid speculation. You want to focus on the here and now and avoid mental time travel. And you want to listen for stressful thinking and clear up any miscommunication, misperception or misunderstanding. Recessions can be lonely, and self-interests are a powerful gravitational pull.
But teams that cope together stick together. Team-based problem solving, decision making and planning are good ways for teams to cope together. Remember, in a recession, troubling news is common, and stressful thinking gives energy to self-interests, which evaporates your team dynamic. But your presence, messaging and communication can provide all the energy needed to hold the team together and keep them pointed in the right direction."
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