QUICK SUMMARY: Fear causes a 20 point drop in IQ. In other words, fear makes people stupid. That’s not what you need, but you can control it. If you only remember one thing…remember to reassure your people today. I’ve never seen people be so nervous in the workplace.
I wrote the following to a client trained as a Ph.D. scientist in Western Europe recently, “What you write to your people is secondary to taking the time to let them know what you appreciated. It’s not a Belgian practice, and it’s not a science practice, as in both cases something could always be better, but to get productivity out of scared people, you need to let them know what progress they’re making with you!”
People are stretched thinner than ever these days and they are scared, deeply scared. That’s why you need to remember to give your teams reassurance in this day and age. That’s why, no matter how much you may want to push or withdraw, your power comes from realizing that a fear-based reaction needs an emotional response.
Fear is not logical
Emotion is not logical. When you see behavior that doesn’t make sense to you, follow the fear. Reassurance is always the place to start as the way to change things when people are nervous to get buy-in. If you see reassurance as weak or letting them just be in a warm bath, you’ll miss your chance to influence them out of their fear.
Acceptance, assurance and awareness combined with patience, persistence and perspective will change your team’s profile. Put the word “reassurance” on the calendar once a quarter – then do it. If you remember only one thing, give your people reassurance to keep them in the game.