When the Future Is Unclear, Help Employees Focus on Doing Good Work Every Day.


One of the greatest challenges of managing people is leading them through uncertain times. Maybe market conditions are changing, or it isn’t clear how your team fits into the C-suite’s strategy. Not having an obvious goal, or a clear way to reach it, can be really uncomfortable. You can help your team cope by telling them to focus on one thing: doing their jobs well. They may not know what the future holds, but they do know what their responsibilities are. Doing good work every day can give your team a sense of direction and alleviate some of their discomfort. You should also cultivate an atmosphere of open communication, which can create emotional steadiness. When there’s new information you can share about what’s going on, share it. Let your team know they can be honest about their emotions, and be honest about yours too — as long as it’s productive. Employees will take their cues from you, so project calm and avoid unhelpful stress-driven responses.

Adapted from “Managing When the Future Is Unclear,” by Lisa Lai.

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