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Managing after disaster

Exec coach: Recover with exercise, music, movies—and work

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, it’s futile to think we’ll resume our business-as-usual lives. We won’t. At least not yet.

For Laurence Stybel, the key is to rethink how we manage our emotions—and our employees’ emotions. As president of Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire, an executive coaching firm in Waltham, Mass., Stybel urges managers to adopt new strategies to motivate a shaken work force.

WS: In the weeks since Sept. 11, have you noticed any mistakes that managers are making with their employees?

Stybel: I’ve been advising managers to listen, listen, listen. A lot of managers aren’t willing to do that. The worst thing you can do is say to a scared employee, “Just relax. No planes will smash into our little office. Get back to work.” That’s not going to help. By essentially saying, “Look, get over it already,” you’re dismissing someone’s understandable fears. And, admit it, you’re probably worried about the same thing.

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