how can managers support employees

I love playing cards. Poker, rummy, solitaire, magic tricks, speed – you name, I play it. But before I discovered the endless combinations that could be created out of 52 colorful, but simple, rectangles with numbers and shapes on them, I built houses of cards.

I had a whole strategy. 

First, I would locate a surface just bumpy enough so they wouldn’t slip and slide everywhere. Then I built a strong foundation with extra cards laid gently on top. As my house grew into a tower, each level became more and more precarious, and although it wobbled a bit, it never toppled over. Until my best friend noticed, of course, and then it was game over.

But despite his interference, my strategy of creating a strong foundation was sound, and my house of cards was sturdy enough to withstand the inevitable bumps and breezes of life.

Leadership, like a house of cards, requires a strong foundation.

Leading your team through anything, but especially a challenge such as a recession, can be like building a house of cards. It is up to you to create the support system that helps your employees remain strong in the face of daunting obstacles.  

Supporting your team members by hiring a leadership keynote speaker to help you determine how to thrive in a recession is key to building a strong and supportive foundation.

How to Exemplify Supportive Leadership During a Recession

The house of cards you’ve so carefully erected is currently under threat from forces outside of your control. With a strong foundation, and the practical tips outlined below that will help you learn how to thrive in a recession, you can rest assured that it won’t topple, and you, your team and your organization will emerge on the other side stronger than ever. 

Be Honest and Provide Clear Communication

Challenging times call for clear communication. With the economy in a state of uncertainty, it is vital that you provide clear direction, as your employees need supportive leadership now more than ever. The road ahead is rocky, but with precise guidance and empathetic reassurance, together you can effectively navigate the effects of the recession.

As a leader, it is vital that you ease the anxieties of your team by letting them know their jobs are secure. The topic is difficult, but by sharing information openly and honestly, listening to their concerns and offering encouragement and optimism, you are exemplifying successful leadership by showing them you care.

Loyalty is key.

When employees feel supported, heard and understood, they will sense that you’ve got their back, and in return, they will remain loyal and engaged. It’s always crucial to exhibit successful leadership skills like these, but it’s never more important than during times of crisis. As the recession rages on, it is imperative that you keep the lines of communication open, support your team members and encourage them to be there for each other.

Set Realistic Goals for Your Team and Organization

We’ve all endured moments when the world feels so overwhelming that even doing the bare minimum is exhausting. This is the space your employees are inhabiting right now. They are experiencing feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, and it is your job to display supportive leadership by calming their nerves, not compounding them. 

Understanding how managers can support employees by creating realistic expectations is crucial to helping your team manage the effects of the recession.

Setting realistic goals is a great step toward fostering positivity. When employees achieve a goal, even if it is small, it boosts their confidence, and that feeling continues to build each time they reach another one. As the leader, you can help them maintain focus and stay motivated by setting realistic and achievable goals for your team. 

It’s also important to listen to your employees as they voice feedback or concerns and answer their questions timely and honestly. Supporting your team members in this way shows them that you have empathy and you care about their well-being.  

Whenever I wonder how managers can best support their employees, I always pause and think, “What would help me?”  While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, considering your own feelings while determining how to manage your employees through challenges is a great place to begin. For many employees, having a positive work environment to come to every day is important, especially during tough times.  

It’s remarkable how something small can make such a big difference. 

Support Team Members by Adopting a “Got Your Back” Culture 

In the uncertainty of today’s economy, it is more important than ever to model successful leadership by adopting a “got your back” culture. Employees are facing rising stress and anxiety levels and the last thing they need is to worry about job security or how they will make ends meet. 

As a leader, it’s crucial to adopt a “got your back” culture.  

By showing employees that their role within your organization is secure, you offer them the breathing room necessary to focus on the basic needs of their family, while still being productive. Create an environment of trust and support by encouraging employees to openly share their concerns and providing resources to help them with recession planning

By learning how managers can best support employees during challenges, you are showing them you are in their corner and that you’ve got their back. 

Be a Supportive and Resilient Leader

It is unfortunate, but true, that many businesses have had to downsize or close their doors during the recession. Even if your organization isn’t facing similar setbacks, your employees may still feel stress and uncertainty.

It is imperative that you support your team members by being a resilient leader who bounces forward through challenges and adapts to change. Your resilience will also engage and motivate team members. When your employees witness your positive outlook and ability to manage stress, they will not only look up to you, they will also be more likely to support you.

With every positive interaction, moment of resilience and display of empathy, you build another level of support that serves to strengthen the foundation of your organization.  

Foster a Hybrid Work Culture

Have you ever tried to play a game, do a magic trick or build a house with just one card? Unless you truly are a magician, most likely it didn’t work. An environment with only one way of working remains stagnant, but when you add in variety, like a hybrid work culture, you ensure a successful outcome.  

As we enter recession-planning mode, it’s more important than ever for leaders to be supportive and flexible by fostering a hybrid work culture that allows employees to feel comfortable working remotely and in-person. Offering your team this flexibility allows them the freedom to improve their work-life balance, which leads to greater satisfaction, engagement and productivity. 

The cost savings on things like rent and utilities when employees aren’t in the office every day is an added bonus to a structure that so greatly benefits your organization.  

Encourage Employees to Take Time Off as Needed

The global pandemic we all endured, compounded by the economic downturn, has been incredibly hard on everyone. As a leader, it’s vital to encourage your team to use the employee PTO available to them. When your iPhone is dying, you don’t keep using it, hoping that little battery symbol will magically turn green again. You plug it in. 

Human beings also need to recharge. 

When your employees are competent, it’s easy to forget that they also have obligations piling on at home. Something has to give, and you don’t want it to be their motivation. By offering employees PTO and providing a work-life balance that allows them to take it, you are helping them build resilience. 

Your flexibility and support shows your employees that you care about their well-being, which inspires them to be even more loyal to you and your organization. 

Maintain a Positive Working Environment

Nurturing your employees’ talents, skills and interests goes a long way toward cultivating a positive work environment. When passion for work is ignited, it creates a blaze of motivation and innovation that lights up the entire organization. As the leader, it’s important to continue to fan the flames during a recession by showing appreciation for your team’s hard work and creativity.

Creating an environment that allows employees to feel supported and inspired will ensure success and growth for your organization even during tough times.

Fight for Employee Benefits 

Managing employees is not your only job as a leader. Part of your role is also to look out for their best interests by fighting for comprehensive employee benefits. This includes advocating for job security, fair wages and access to affordable healthcare. 

When a leader exhibits solidarity and support with your team, it helps reduce stress and anxiety levels and fosters a positive work environment. Knowing you are looking out for not only them, but their families as well, encourages employees to focus on discovering innovative solutions to challenging problems. 

A “got your back” attitude in a leader also inspires trust and respect, which is an essential part of finding ways to be stronger together during difficult times.

Level Up Your Successful Leadership: You Need Support Too

You may have help with the finishing touches, but you alone are charged with designing and building the solid foundation that your employees rely on for their livelihood. The steadier you are when laying those delicate cards on top of each other, the sturdier your house will be. 

Show your team that you recognize how vital support is by hiring a leadership keynote speaker to guide you, so that you can be the best leader possible for your team. 

Together, you and your team can rise to new heights on the strong foundation you built.