A free market economy is a cruel God. It's a generous patron one day, cruel and miserly the next. With a slower global economy, many companies still high on the 'new economy' boom are now facing shrinking budgets, elusive prospects, and idle clients.
So when a business owner feels glum about his fortunes in this sort of pickle, it's often a justified rant. But as the epicenter of a firm's universe, a dour big boss can have a profound effect on his employees. Slipping morale is often a slow drag, and sending down signals of frustration down the chain can act as a trigger.
As the lifeblood of an organization, your people are often the first to take a hit when fast times give way to a crawling slog. By staying on top of them, you can avert a potential disaster in the making.
ARE YOU LOSING YOUR TEAM?
There are myriad signs that company wide confidence may be headed south.
“Complaining, grousing, negativity, cynicism, closed doors, arriving late, leaving early, and generally not seeming to care are symptoms of slipping morale,” says management consultant James Hilario.
He counsels that while it's all too easy to fall into self pity given the state of the economy, it's best to remind them that this situation is not only temporary, but also an opportunity for new avenues of growth.
“Markets seldom disappear, and you have to remind them that there are thousands of leads waiting to be closed out there,” Hilario said
TURN THINGS AROUND
Think about it: Your competitors may be running scared. Capitalize on their paralysis by courting their clients.
How do you convince your team to keep plugging away?
Stay positive. If your salespeople smell fear, they’ll start to worry. So better keep your doomsday scenarios private.
Have a plan. When the economy takes a dive, sales are tougher to find, and your sales team will need new ideas. Plan promotions and specials to get things moving. Investigate new markets or launch new products. Remember, active people are positive people.
Get out in the fields. Go with your sales team when they make client calls. Use this time to hear their problems and ideas. Everybody needs to be heard in a tough climate.
Get them pumped up. In a weak market, your front liners will get beat up pretty quickly. It’s your job to inject a positive attitude into their lives. Encourage them with motivational emails, take them out for beers. In short, make them feel important.
Be a cheerleader. Make a big deal out of every sale. Celebrate successes to motivate your team to keep on winning.
Set realistic goals. Reset your goals to reflect the tougher market. Consistently missed goals lower morale.
Given the right attitude, just about any negative can be flipped.
"Set an example, and be positive. You're the high priest of the company, get your flock in line and stomping for the cause," Hilario said.