Talk Straight During Uncertain Times

Posted by on Feb 4, 2009 in Success!Ezine For You



E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2009


Just when you think things couldn’t get worse in the job market, they get worse. Your employees are on edge and those who don’t cope as well as others are likely to show it in obvious ways these days. They all want to know what’s going to happen tomorrow – in particular, whether they’ll still have a job. They look to you for reassurance and comfort. But it does not serve them well for you to give a false sense of security.

  • Tell It Like It Is

If your company is struggling like so many others, be straight about this. Sure, your staff can see the layoffs. They know that supplies have been cut to the bone. But denial is a hearty psychological defense and enables many to calm their worry by concluding that it won’t happen to them. Hearing from you the reality that more cutbacks are probably coming, that you have no way of knowing how long even you will have a job, will help to break through some of that denial. The point is not to bludgeon your employees and make them depressed, but to nudge them to make fall-back plans so that they don’t suffer as deeply if they are the next to go.

  • Help Staff Plan for the Worst

Planning ahead is the best coping strategy for your staff during uncertain times, so do all you can to help them. This is a good time for brown bag lunch seminars about money management – while they still have some money to work with. It’s a good time for talk about effective stress management — or, these days, fear management. Talking openly about what they would do if their hours were cut back or if they were laid off encourages them to dust off their resume and to re-engage in professional associations and activities to do some networking “just in case”.

  • Wish Those Who Leave Well

While, of course, you don’t want your best people to quit even though you can’t promise them security, it’s important to communicate that you care about them as individuals and do understand if getting a “safe” job elsewhere is in their best interests. Though everyone knows that jobs are hard to find right now, some do prevail and leave you behind. Wish them well and invite them to keep in touch. Those who were your best workers may now become valuable allies and advocates of your company in the community or may assist you in other ways. Be happy for them.

Uncertain times require straight talk. People need to know exactly where they stand so that they can maintain as much order and control in their lives as possible. Do all you can to help them plan ahead.


About the Author:

Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,

The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at or call 954.797.9766.

E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262  Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317

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