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Reassure jittery employees

Pull together to fight back fear

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in Leaders & Managers,Office Management

Like it or not, your staff looks to you for comfort during these harrowing times. They don’t expect you to calm all their fears. But they do want you to listen and serve as a shock absorber.

Here’s how you can help:

Collaborate on safeguards. Survey employees to determine to what extent they feel safe at work. Seek their ideas to increase security. Check what steps other employers in your area are taking to improve safety.

Boost team volunteerism. To combat the fear and powerlessness that many people feel, invite your employees to give back to the community. Sponsor a blood drive. Have employees’ kids design cards or wrap gifts to send to firefighters. Ask your staff for suggestions on ways they can pool their resources to help the victims.

Research the right answers. Our readers report that many of their employees are posing worrisome questions, such as “What kind of biological or chemical threats do we face?” or “What steps can we take to be more vigilant?”

Collect reliable information and disseminate it to your staff. Example: Distribute articles or fact sheets from state or federal authorities.

Arouse pride to motivate. “Get employees involved in a confidence-building process by asking something like, ‘How are we going to show these terrorists that their efforts did not change the way we do our business?’” suggests Ross Reck, author of The X-Factor (John Wiley & Sons, 2001).

Rallying employees to reclaim their peace of mind works better than trying to cajole them back to old work habits.

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