May 3, 2009

Leadership to Recession-Proof the Culture and Position for Recovery

Organizations are suffering from the economic fallout. The dynamics of business are in a state of change. Workers and managers alike are struggling to make sense of what they must do to survive the recession. In 2009, some organizations may consider reducing or eliminating training as a way to reduce expenses, but the reality is that training is the last thing organizations should cut. It is the one thing that can help current and future leaders adapt so they can emerge from the recession sound. Training is about leveraging the present in order to build a future. The recession may be the best time to focus on leadership training.

Organizations should be positioning themselves for recovery. Studies reveal that firms that come out of the recession in a more advantageous position will be more likely retain that position far into the period of recovery. Strategies for building leadership talent should be embedded throughout your organization. Train your managers and supervisors to help employees understand where the company is going and how they fit in with the company goals. Leading employees effectively helps avoid the economic distractions and keeps them engaged in the business of serving customers, remaining proactive and performing as a productive member of the team. Employees then are more likely to apply the proper decisions and skills in their day-to-day jobs.

Another theme on which leadership in organizations must focus is communication. When times are tough, leaders should openly discuss the issues and challenges employees face. Leaders should do this often and in many ways to reduce anxiety, stabilize the environment and support positive morale. Communication becomes the glue that binds together the culture of the organization, making it more resistant to the pressures of recession, such as unwanted turnover, the ability to achieve more with less, disenfranchised teams and loss of productivity --- or what I call "recession overload."

Do your managers have the adaptability they need to lead their teams through the economic downturn? Look to your training organization and training professions now for flexible and adaptive programs. Programs such as a blended learning can transform your managers and supervisors into recession-proof leaders. In addition to training, what are you doing to position your organization for recovery and to recession-proof your leaders?

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