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Turn negatives to your advantage

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

In rough times, managers need to motivate more than ever. From soaring gas prices to the threat of layoffs, swirling negativity can crush your employees’ spirit.

Trying to highlight the bright side won’t work. Feeding people an everything’s-going-to-get-better message makes you seem like an out-of-touch Pollyanna. They know the tide will change, but that doesn’t help now.

It’s better to acknowledge uncertainty and encourage your team to persevere. Model the kind of steely courage you want your staff to exhibit. Respond to bad news by saying, “Now comes the real test.” Then pose a challenge with clear goals—and rally the troops to meet it head-on. Emphasize these themes:

“This makes us stronger.” Motivate even skeptical workers by appealing to their pride and desire to prove themselves. Tell them that their ability to handle adversity builds character. Support your point by sharing your own experience or citing historical examples of heroic behavior amid a disaster.

“There’s opportunity in crisis.” Remind employees that the ones who perform most admirably in the months ahead can open career doors that might otherwise remain closed to them. Just as national heroes arise during wartime or other national calamities, urge your staff to view current events in opportunistic terms.


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