Dear Aunty B,
I am a personality type A and have been in business for 16 years.
Due to the high dollar (we are in food manufacturing), this past year has been the most stressful. The hardest thing I have found is that a number of bad things will happen in a row. Usually the bad knocks are interspersed with some good news.
What I have noticed is that when I am stressed it affects my staff in a negative way, when what I am trying to do is to get them moving in a positive way. How do I get across my sense of urgency without causing alarm in my staff?
Here is what you do. You get up from your desk with a smile on your dial, you walk casually to the door nodding to a few people on the way and you high tail it out of there. You then go for a brisk 15-minute walk — 30 minutes on a really bad day.
First, it counts as your 30-minute moderate to vigorous exercise that we are all meant to do every day, so that is good news!
Second, dial a friend either at the start or end of the walk. The friend knows how to talk you off the ledge. “Yeah, heard it all before and you always bounce back” is the sort of message you need to hear and it’s even better if you can say it to yourself and actually listen!
Then you go back to the office calm, friendly but determined. And that is the message your staff pick up, because, as you say, causing panic and alarm in staff is a futile exercise.
The staff all have KPIs. They know – or they should know – how you are travelling. And the culture you have created means they all are working extremely hard to meet those KPIs.
Of course, if that is not the case, and the staff have to be ridden hard because they are not self-motivated, you have a culture problem not a panic problem. So, don’t panic. Stay focused, sniff the winds and stay ahead.
Your Aunty B