6 Ways to Stay Positive Through Crisis and Show Your Team You're in This Together
It's easy these days to feel discouraged about the state of the world, but negativity can hamper your much-needed productivity. Here are six tips on how to stay positive and motivated despite a confusing economy and frightening global events.
If you watch or read the news, it's easy to start feeling anxious about the state of the world today. Feeling grief, guilt and despair about not doing more to facilitate change is normal. As a business owner, you're used to being in charge and in control, but you feel powerless to do anything about war, pandemics or hatred. It all feels too overwhelming.
But you can't give in to all that negativity. Being a business owner is like being a parent — not only do insurmountable world events affect you, but they impact your staff, so you need to be concerned about your employees' mental health.
Try the following six strategies to cope and address the proverbial elephants in the room within your own company and prove that you're all in this together.
1. Lead by example
Employees take their cues from the top, so if your modus operandi is to ignore current events, they'll assume specific discussions are off limits in the workplace. Maybe that's on purpose, and you want a work culture where people keep their worries to themselves. However, if you want a culture where workers feel free to express themselves, it needs to start with you.
I'm not saying you want a workplace where your employees are constantly debating current events, but your staff is likely as stressed as you are and want to express their fears and concerns.
Whether you broach a social topic or join a conversation already in progress, it's critical to listen, ask questions and contribute, so your team knows it's acceptable to discuss these issues at work. Finally, the best way to encourage communication is to make it clear that people are free to express their opinions without being judged by their boss or peers.
2. Issue a statement
When something significant happens, many companies take the initiative to issue a company-wide statement to employees (and sometimes the media). Clearly, the kind of statement you give about a critical issue depends on the culture you've developed. But chances are your staff wants you to speak out. A recent Gartner HR Research study found that 68% of employees would consider leaving their employers for a business that takes a more assertive stance on societal and cultural issues.
Whether you express support for the survivors of a natural disaster, the brutalities in Ukraine or something more personal like an event in your own community, it's vital to show employees you are aware and empathetic to the circumstances around you. If you decide to contribute to a cause as a company, make your team part of the process by asking for their ideas on how you can make a difference.
3. Provide resources
Of course, employees may choose not to speak out about how a particular event affects their stress levels and mental health. People often prefer to keep their feelings and opinion to themselves, or at least out of the workplace.
You can still help those employees by offering resources such as recommending well-being apps your team can download and use independently. Post information on your intranet or send a memo about helpful mental health and wellness apps or services.
For specific ways employees can get involved, list websites such as the American Red Cross, local food banks or relief agencies that support a particular cause.
4. Bring in outside help
There may also be times when a current event directly affects your employees and consequently puts your business at risk. In these cases, offering outside assistance is crucial to help employees deal with the mental and physical aftereffects.
For example, your company may reel after losing a loved coworker, a workplace violence incident, a natural disaster in their community or simply feeling the weight of the crises in our world today. The American Counseling Association (ACA) has many helpful resources on its website's Trauma and Mental Health section. You can also ask your company's insurance provider to provide you with local therapists employees can meet with to receive counseling.
5. Get involved
Don't disregard the healing effect of taking action. You can make it a company-wide project or something you do yourself and ask interested employees to volunteer with you. Creating a culture of volunteerism in your company boosts employee morale, according to a study from Deloitte. Not only did the study find volunteerism improved employee wellbeing, but 89% of employees believe businesses that sponsor volunteer activities offer a healthier overall working environment.
Whether you brainstorm with employees on how to take action and support a cause or encourage involvement by giving workers PTO to donate their time, facing current events head-on can do wonders for your mental state and the health of your business.
6. Banish negativity
As bad as things may get, strive daily to practice gratitude and banish negativity, which is a mindset that people often choose to embrace due to underlying issues. This can quickly turn into fear.
Don't fight it. Instead, surrender and let things work out on their own. Try to accept your current situation, feel grateful for what you have and have faith that something great will emerge.
Trying to control things is often what fuels negativity. To maintain productivity and boost company morale, go forward with no regrets about your past and no worries about the future.
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