Motivating Employees Through Today's Economic Crisis - Executive Strategies

By Daniel Leidl
Updated: 7/19/11

Tough Times Call for Tough Measures, Rallying the Troops, Circling the Wagons, Bunkering Down may all seem like maxed-out maxims in today's ailing economy, but what other rallying cries can today's executives call on? As layoffs and cutbacks ravage the headlines, is it possible to keep employees motivated to turn a profit, trudge forward, and maintain business as usual? The future seems murky, as the economy has only been weaker at one other point in the nation's history, an era defined by a moniker of human suffering.

While times may look bleak, there is still work to be done and opportunities to prosper. So how do we best advance in such uncommon hours? We reach down into deeper wells, as profound concerns demand profound solutions, increasing the gravity of your language, and paint a sincere picture of your business amidst the looming historical crisis may actually benefit motivation. Tying daily efforts into larger, global, and historical issues infuses the oftentimes monotonous work environment with a well-founded sense of importance and magnitude.

Highlighting the historic importance of the mission only sets the stage for the real motivational punch. First, employees have to believe that their efforts are needed, and then they have to understand how they can help. Establishing expectations and goals for your staff will serve you well. Begin the journey with a defined destination, and then invite the talents and enthusiasm of the staff to help the organization advance towards its ends.

People want to achieve and want a stake in the advancements with which they are associated. Empowering employees to roll up their sleeves and help out wherever they may be needed could yield unexpected and welcomed results while augmenting motivation. People will passionately throw themselves into an opportunity if they have the skills to succeed and are empowered to try. Encouraging employees to dedicate themselves to the organization's success regardless of their position will enhance motivation while increasing communication and inter-departmental synchronicity. In such times, decreasing red-tape may increase buy-in and output as employees become motivated to give all of themselves to efforts they have a personal stake in.

Finally, an inspiring leader is keen at pointing out moments of achievement with praise and acknowledgment. As you advance toward your goals take the time to congratulate and praise the good ideas, the late nights, the lunch-less days, and early morning arrivals that keep the organization moving forward, and all efforts to advance the organization should be praised regardless of how rudimentary they may seem.

Great journeys are wrought with peril, loss, suffering, and pain. But they also reap great reward. History has left us with a belief in the balanced equation: The more we put in, the more we gain. Today's climate is teeming with possibility and hope, but the payout is unlikely to come quickly or easily. The leaders of today's organizations have a distinct opportunity to sail through and navigate unchartered and rough waters. Those who are successful will maintain a motivated staff regardless of the difficult times ahead.


Daniel Leidl, PhD is a Managing Partner of Meno Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in leadership development, motivation, organizational culture, and team building. Dan can be reached through http://www.menoconsulting.com

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