The mortgage housing financial crises in the US was known to have disrupted the whole world. Internationally popular firms were being shut down. Several banks were on the edge of bankruptcy. Several employees working in multinational companies were waiting for the pink slip. Companies were beginning to be merged with larger entities. People were soon out of work and there were rampant layoffs.
However, there are many among those unemployed, who did not give up and fought back all odds to reach an even better position than the one they held earlier. As a coach, I have had the experience of working with many such optimistic people who have sought my help in their difficult times.
These are the five lessons learnt during the course of the last 12+ years of working with people through economic swings, mergers and redundancies. These lessons have the potential to serve any person who wants to continue advancing career even during difficult economic times.
Wellbeing is important
Difficult economic times always bring in a lot of conversations of layoffs and salary cuts. A loud media strengthened by a sting of experts and TRPs add to noise. Emotional, mental and physical well-being are impacted and take a back seat.
Make sure health and well-being are prioritised. Strengthen the health regimen to include emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. This may include exercising, meditation or learning a new skill.
Don’t bring people down
Avoid organisations focussed in negative talks. There may be reasons to complain – privileges withdrawn, layoffs, less sensitivity towards people. Gossip may happen around water coolers or lunch breaks.
Avoid all such negative talk. It does not help. If there is feedback, share it directly with people who matter. One does not want to be in the spotlight for wrong reasons.
The world does not know you exist. It is your responsibility to drive that visibility. There are other rising sectors.
There may be new avenues of growth. Be visible so that you can be picked for those opportunities. Call old colleagues; share your expertise on professional media. Now is the time to shine, don’t hide behind.
How to make a difference?
As the economy goes through a down turn, regular work is disrupted. The activities that a person does may no longer be relevant. This does not mean that work overall has stopped. It has just changed the course. In such a situation, the question “How may I contribute, what difference may I make?” counts
Know the leadership objectives, align yourself to them.
Volunteer towards these activities. This will help stay relevant to the changing organisation. It might just become a trigger for you to lead the next level of growth for yourself.
This too shall pass
Global economies will go through their cycles of growth and traction. Keep this perspective in mind.
This is not the first; it will not be the last. The question is “Will you last?” Will you choose to let this storm drown you or will you strengthen yourself to rise above? Leaders choose to rise above by strengthening themselves.
Down turns offer great advantage to strengthen selves emotionally and mentally. Use them effectively. Help is available. In apps like TWChallenge, there are several life skill challenges one can take for free. One can also seek the help of a coach to get guidance through difficult times.
The writer is CEO, Greenlattey People