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Every business will go through rough times, and communicating and relating effectively with your staff will spell the difference between having a cohesive team working with you or a disorganized, demoralized team that will add to your problems.

In a crisis situation, it is important to remember your business only runs because of the people involved. Staff members are more than numbers on a spreadsheet - they are individuals with concerns and feelings about the upheaval going on in the business. They are concerned about how it affects their lives, careers, and families.

When you realize major problems have struck your business, you need to meet with your staff to honestly outline the situation and the steps that must be reached to resolve it.

Colleagues need to know the reality of business conditions, how the situation developed, and how you plan to move forward leading the organization toward recovery.

Nehemiah gave us a great model when he said, "You see the trouble we are in, that Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem that we may no longer be in disgrace" (Neh. 2:17 NIV).

Nehemiah gave the people the straight story. He didn't say Jerusalem needed a little work, or that the gates needed to be fixed. The truth, no matter how hard, is far better communicated to your staff than a rosy but false picture. After speaking the truth, Nehemiah rallied the troops, and the work was completed.

Here are eight points to keep in mind when dealing with staff during a crisis:
  1. Tell the truth. Be direct, no matter how bleak the prognosis. Your colleagues desire and deserve to hear and understand the truth.

    Take enough time to ensure the tough message was heard and completely understood. Your forthrightness will preserve your leadership credibility. Failure to be candid destroys confidence in leadership - confidence necessary to effectively lead.
  2. Ask for help. Ask your team for help by letting colleagues know you welcome and need input and help. Bringing your workforce together to discuss possible solutions develops a sense of ownership and loyalty.

    Often great ideas come from all levels of the company, not just from the boss. It's important to be willing to give and take, as long as you move toward your stated, and required, goals (Prov. 13:10).
  3. Explain the plan. Explain the plan to everyone and demonstrate how success will be achieved and measured. Your staff is more likely to rally around a plan if they understand the plan and see how that plan will lead the company forward. Explain how each of them can and must contribute to make the plan work (Prov. 11:14).
  4. Inspire immediate action. Create a sense of urgency, but not of panic. Effective leadership requires inspiring action while still keeping your cool. If your staff senses panic or pessimism on your part, your survival plan could quickly unravel. Set clear, firm deadlines on all key tasks and assignments and ensure follow-through (Josh. 1:11).
  5. Delegate important tasks. Delegate work to your staff - remember how important they are to the future of your business. You cannot do all the work yourself. Your key job is to write and monitor the plan, delegate work, and then keep everyone focused on the most important tasks. Stress that the team needs to win together (Ex. 18:18).
  6. Enforce staff unity. Underscore the importance of staff unity during the crisis, and monitor staff to ensure everyone is supporting the plan by actions and words.

    If anyone is not fully on board, or insists on arguing extensively, insist they join the team or leave the company. A leader must have full cooperation while digging out of a tough spot. Insist any complaints be voiced directly to you, rather then gossiping to co-workers (Luke 11:17).
  7. Share the glory. Promptly share the victories, both small and large, with the staff and celebrate together. This is not a time to be stingy with encouragement and praise.

    When the crisis passes, be sure to reward those who have assisted the recovery and paid some personal price in the process. Some ways to do this include bonuses, extra raises, or other unexpected benefits (2 Tim. 2:6).
  8. Continue praising God. Give liberal praise to the Lord. Let your staff see your reliance on Him during difficulties, as He gives you strength and answers prayer. Times of trouble and crisis can bring great glory to the Lord (1 Thess. 5:15).
Leadership is essential to keeping your business running during a down time. No matter how catastrophic it may seem when it first hits, any storm can be weathered with good management and communication skills.

This article is used by permission from Steve Marr's Business Proverbs.
Steve's passion is to empower ministry and business leaders
with God's ancient Wisdom for enhanced performance and
excellence. He resides in Tucson, Arizona with his family.

Author Biography

Steve Marr
Web site: The Life
Steve Marr has learned from 40 years of business experience that God's way works. As an author, speaker and business consultant, Marr helps companies and organizations apply the ancient wisdom of the Bible to avoid the common mistakes and headaches of growing a business.

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