As the old adage states, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!" And, no one can argue that the current economic climate has produced chaos, shaken trust, and stolen confidence.
With more than 5 million people unemployed, a natural tendency might be to hide out and wait for everything to blow over. A better strategy, however, is to acknowledge your fears and leverage all the energy you can muster to your advantage. To do that, you'll need a crucial set of skills that includes self managing, reflecting, acting consciously, collaborating, and evolving. These foundational competencies will help you to face uncertainty with inner strength.
It is crucial that you are able to manage yourself because during these difficult economic times, you need to find the strength to tackle the day-to-day issues that consume your life, such as the decreasing value of your 401k or the home mortgage crisis. Can you exert personal discipline to deal with the "stuff" that shows up, acknowledge and control your fears, and drive your performance forward? Are you in a company that has gone through employee layoffs or are you anticipating some in the near future?
Because nothing is as it seems on the surface, carving out time to reflect on what is really happening is critical. Step back from the issue and notice what is happening or has happened. Let a picture emerge that clarifies reality and allows new thoughts to emerge because reflecting on incidents or issues can generate more effective actions.
Conscious actions emanate from a place of inner power and strength. This economic recession has put more stress in the workplace and has placed more importance on employee performance, teamwork, and one's actions. When you act consciously, you accept accountability and recommit to deliver your highest performance. Speak the truth as you know it to be, align your actions with that truth, and model the performance you seek from others.
Layoffs are forcing employees left behind in the workplace to pick up added work. Now, more than ever, collaboration is crucial. You need to engage others to define problems and find creative solutions. Great ideas don't know titles or boundaries. Authentic leadership at every level becomes even more critical now.
To become one of the "tough" team members, ask yourself these questions: What must I do to be a better contributor right now? What will I do today to strengthen my team's performance? What do I really, really want to create moving forward?
As you conquer the unprecedented challenges of this economic recession, you will evolve into a different and more confident person. As German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Applying new practices can move you from complacency, to contentment and creation.
Jane R. Flagello
Senior Professor, DeVry University
Sandra Bernard Dugas
Owner, Dynamic Adventures