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Why you find your best people when times are tough

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When things get tough, it’s easy for people – whether they’re the CEO, a manager or a low-level employee – to take the ‘woe is me’ approach.

People like to sulk when things aren’t going their way, or emotions take over and it’s sometimes easier for employees to walk away than to face their issues head on and deal with them systematically. It happens all the time.

I read this short piece by Ryan Rolanksy of LinkedIn recently, and it really triggered something in me. I realised that people’s true character and abilities can reveal itself during a crisis.

As Rolansky says, work life is extremely turbulent and nothing is ever – I repeat, ever – going to go your way 100% of the time, so who you need are the people who can step up.

When things are tough, the business requires immediate action. So let me ask you this: When your team, business unit or overall company has gone through a difficult time, who are the people who do something about it?

Who are the people who come up with a plan of action for how they can help? When that doesn’t work, do they come up with a plan B, or even a plan C?

If you have people like this in your organisation, be grateful. The eternal optimists – i.e. the people who keep trying until they succeed – are your best people, and you need to hang onto them.

They’re not going to be perfect all the time, and they might not even be your highest performers, but when the seas get rough they will realise their own ability to help and will want to prove themselves and help you get the job done.

Because the truth is, all the management and leadership books might be able to guide people and help them formulate a particular attitude towards work and a strategic way of thinking – but all that greatness can fly out the door when the s*** hits the fan.

And don’t forget, the same can be said for employers. How do you approach people and rough situations when the chips are down?

Images: Shutterstock

HR Masterclass Series: We're going virtual! New courses, new formats!
Review the 2020 masterclasses here »

Rebecca Lewis
Human Resources Magazine Singapore

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