I have always thought that leaders at work are a bit like cabin crew on an airline. When it gets bumpy or I hear a random noise on take-off, I always look straight at the cabin crew. If they look calm, then I’m calm. I figure that they have done this flying thing way more than I have so if they’re not worried, then I’m not worried. It is the same at work. If I see my leader walking around with their head in their hands or come out of a meeting looking anxious, then I start worrying. And when you think your company is in trouble, it impacts negatively on productivity, becomes the water cooler conversation and just generally makes work not a very nice place to be. When companies go through tough times, how a leader behaves and interacts with their team can make all the difference on how they come through it. People want to be led by someone who they feel has “got this”.
This thinking is why I loved this piece from Glennon Doyle. Her friend shared this advice for what kids need when parents are going through a divorce. But I think it works just as well for what employees need from their leaders in uncertain times.
Our job as leaders is not to pretend that there will never be tough times. But that when they do happen we remember to keep serving the freaking peanuts.