Yes, managers are under pressure, turbulent times and all of us are well advised to take this situation into account managing relationships with them. It has never been more important for everyone to focus on the job at hand, do it in the best way and make light so as to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
But there is another side of the coin.
Managers need to consider that employees are under the gun to reduce costs, increase production … in other words, do more with less.
People are afraid
This is a good time for managers to remind them that the people they administer represent the most critical and sensitive resources available to get the job and promote their career paths. Good governance that encourage human capital can mean the difference for that razor-thin material between success in achieving career goals and settling for also-ran status.
It is wrong to think that people are going to change their practices overnight. The truth, as in boom times some managers allow their soldiers to follow poor work habits; turn in sloppy work; and generally do not care about the results. So when the downturn comes along, they expect by issuing a new set of commands and to a higher standard – the strength of motivation one -. Men and women are going to suddenly shaping up to perform at some higher level
Work Habits do not change Overnight
Where bad work habits have been allowed to develop over a period of time, manager who cracks the whip and expects everything to change overnight is riding for a big surprise.
What can happen, though, is that a good manager will use the tough times to be reminded of his duties and goals of the organization. He can start from ground zero to encourage and manage work force. If done properly, these will start to pay dividends in the short term, but there will not be any instant, a miracle cure for all problems.
If, on the other hand, the manager has been successful in maintaining high standards of quality and productivity, he can feel justified in asking for extra efforts. However, he should not expect that just by applying pressure for more and better, 100 percent effort suddenly become 110 percent. People achieve realistic capabilities. Pushing for more over time offers Burnout and denial.
It is necessary, especially in difficult times, managers never ask those who manage to do something that they can not or will not do themselves. Managers can not expect employees to just grin and bear it when layoffs are announced, if they themselves are taking Friday afternoon off to play a round of golf or go away for a few days in your favorite resort.
Good managers do not express fear and foreboding that their team. It has been said that the sign of a good leader is that his followers always leave his presence feeling better about the world in general and prospects in particular. Indeed, it is foolish to manager painting Silver Linings in the skies if a thunderstorm is brewing. But a good boss simply will not allow themselves to come across as defeat and depression. The message, even in difficult times, needs to be, “Yes there are rough, but we can work our way out of this situation if we accept the facts and make our best effort to deal with them.”