Tito Mboweni is to February what father Christmas is to December: the person everyone is waiting for – although people undoubtedly dread Father Christmas a little less.
Sadly for us, the Budget Speech isn’t an easy thing to hear – just as its impacts aren’t all that easy to live with. That’s why I was enormously inspired by an insight offered by one of our clients recently. Addressing his staff’s concerns about job security in the current economy, he reminded them that “Just because we operate in a bad economy, it doesn’t mean we have a bad business.”
There’s no doubt in my mind that this CEO shares his employee’s concerns – he’s human, after all. But he was displaying one of the most important traits associated with leadership: optimism.
Pessimism doesn’t befit a leader, and the unspoken rule here should be: even if you feel it, don’t show it. In fact, at a time when negativity pervades not only your organisation but the country at large, it’s your duty to provide a counter view. When those around you are experiencing desperate levels of anxiety, it’s critical that you appear confident and positive.
That doesn’t mean throwing around a lot of happy platitudes. People can see through these, and rather than assuring them and allaying their fears, it creates distrust. The focus should, instead, be on undertaking activities that help your employees see you are doing all you can to build a carefully structured future for the organisation; in essence, laying a foundation that’s strong enough to withstand all the turmoil that lies ahead of us.
Anxiety is one of the most difficult emotions to process, because it undermines all our certainties – and, when you’re unsure of what the future holds, the present suddenly becomes a lot more frightening. As CEO, it’s your job to hold that anxiety at bay by ensuring your staff that you believe in the wonderful road that lies ahead. And you need to make them see your vision for that road, too.
It’s hard work, trying to infuse a future-focused mindset at such a time – but the cost of not doing so is enormous. And the knowledge that there is a way to uplift spirits can be uplifting in itself.
Let us show you how.
Guy Martin is the founder & Managing Director of Blueprints: assisting CEOs to drive growth by increasing the alignment of their people to business goals by 50% within an 18 month period.