"Your employees can think about the 'past', 'present' and 'future', so they can also be uncertain about the past, present and future.
- Future uncertainty has to do with questions they can't answer today.
- Momentary uncertainty has to do with the tough choices they can make today.
- And hindsight uncertainty has to do with choices they've already made.
People hate uncertainty because they equate it with danger. It's a natural human tendency and you can't change it. Uncertainty creates doubt. Doubt erodes confidence, and you need confidence to be motivated.
In a recession, people's minds race across time, bouncing between the past, present and future.
- Did I do the right thing?
- What do I do now?
- What's going to happen?
You can't stop their mental time travel and you can't make uncertainty pleasant. But you can reduce uncertainty. And here's how...
- When you help people prioritize, they know what's important.
- When you help people plan, they know what to do.
- When you give feedback, especially timely feedback, people know where they stand.
- And when you express gratitude, people know they're valued.
When people know what's important, what to do, where they stand and how they're valued, they feel safer.
It's a constant mental tug of war. Thoughts of danger are tugging against thoughts of safety. And in a time of uncertainty, you want to promote 'psychological safety'. Be honest, be empathetic and be consistent and people feel safer. Be available, show interest, and be consistent and people feel safer. Remember, you can't eliminate doubt, worries or perceived danger, but you can limit of making people feel safer."
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