Right now, the world is grappling with an unprecedented foe. COVID-19 has swept through our lives and changed things so swiftly, that many of us have not had a chance to fully understand the implications. It is hard to see the future, when we are still so immersed in this war with an invisible, yet deadly enemy.
It is inevitable that the impact on the global economy will be brutal. Already the unemployment numbers are rapidly rising, governments are desperately deploying stimulus packages, and companies are bracing to fight for survival.
Like most, the experience of living through the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown has been quite a revelation to me on many fronts. It has been intriguing to watch how the world has responded on a political, business and personal level. In many ways, our varied responses to this crisis are as fascinating as the pandemic.
As James Lane Allen once wrote, “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.” I have found this to be entirely true as I have observed the world in crisis. We have seen remarkable leadership, kindness, creativity, compassion and inspiration as COVID-19 unfolded across the globe. In contrast, we have also seen some of the worst elements of human nature too – poor leadership, finger pointing, lying, hoarding and thinly veiled racism. All of this has played out around us, whilst so many lives have been lost.
Few consider the incredibly challenging aspects of management as they step into a promotion. One of these is the responsibility of “downsizing”. No matter how you slice and dice it, downsizing a team is a difficult task.
So, how do you approach this with professionalism and kindness, whilst achieving a well-considered result for the business? Importantly, how do you reach the right outcome without creating a lasting, negative impact on several lives in the process?
Sadly, I have been involved in more downsizing projects than I like to remember. From my perspective, there are definitely ways to minimise the angst – for both those directly impacted and their families, but also the “survivors” who are left in the organisation after the process has been completed.
Like many others, I have to confess to being one of those people who wants to be really good at everything I turn my attention to. I have driven myself (and probably many others) crazy with this perfectionist streak. Over time, I have learnt to manage it more effectively – and you can too.
As life becomes increasingly more complicated, being a perfectionist can have dangerous side effects. When it is just you in the world, it is easier to indulge your perfectionist streak. However, throw in responsibilities for a team, for a family, for a relationship and for some furry friends – well it becomes an increasingly complex juggling act.
Once upon a time, things were a bit more straight forward when it came to manners and the workplace. The manners that our parents instilled in us prevailed, and we learnt to take our cues at work from the senior and the successful. We learnt about a term called “professionalism”, and generally it was applied and understood by all in a corporate environment. Things were simpler then.
However, the waters have become muddied in the digital world and suddenly etiquette, manners and professionalism seem to be progressively optional. Well, for some. Not for all. And the separation between those who apply etiquette and those who don’t often strongly correlates with long term success and reputation. Without exception, in my experience the most impressive and successful executives, board members and thought leaders that I have met have been humble, gracious and polite. Coincidence? I think not.