Economists across the board are anticipating an economic downturn moving into 2023. This type of prediction (and constant recession talk) can send a chill through customers, employees, and other C-suite executives alike. Don’t let that fear run your business.
Gone are the days of the stoic CEO who dutifully manages stressors behind-the-scenes on behalf of the whole company. Customers, employees, and other C-suite executives expect a CEO to display true leadership through transparency. During an economic downturn, one of the most important things to remember is that trust can be broken easily but is incredibly hard to rebuild (especially in a workplace).
To weather the storm, CEOs should prepare to be authentic and transparent. Providing a united foundation and building trust with employees during tough times is incredibly important to the survival of a company through a recession.
Here are some best practices for CEOs to employ during uncertain times.
Remain Consistently Transparent
Transparency is key in times of trouble. Whether it’s monthly or quarterly business updates – provide your employees with honest information about the company (and their career paths). It’s important for everyone to understand how the company is tracking against its goals. This reporting can give your employees a picture of what roadblocks the team is up against and can help to limit anxiety for those who jump to “doomsday” scenarios.
Exceptional leadership means communicating a strategic plan (that’s updated over time) to remedy any issues or bad reports. It’s important to not only develop a plan but to remain consistent with your communication regarding updates of the plan’s progress. Ensure that your C-suite is on board as you work collectively toward the same goals.
Placing goals on display (especially for yourself and for the company as a whole) is a great way to create transparency. This can also drive accountability and help to channel anxious energy. Those who are worried about job security may feel more inclined to work toward smaller and larger goals collectively versus floundering as they worry about their employment.
Keep in mind that an economic downturn may not be the most opportune time to set an incredibly high bar for success. Providing a roadmap for employees to follow can help your team grow together. Collective goals and accountability may also drive innovative ideas and solutions to challenges that your company may be facing in the midst of an economic downturn.
Allow the Free Flow of Ideas
It may be easier to force the direction forward (against all odds) in times of crisis – but the best leaders leave space for great ideas. Developing new processes during difficult times like economic downturns can mean one company surviving over another.
Ensure that your company is adequately prepared to listen and encourage the free flow of ideas during tough times. Foster mutual respect and open spaces for employees to feel valued when they speak. This will help with overall employee retention during an economic downturn as well.
Don’t Hide Bad News
Transparency and openness applies to the bad news as well. While sharing bad news may be uncomfortable, it can help to build trust and eliminate rumors. Rallying around true and accurate results of a company will unify a team to find solutions moving forward. This style of communication can also help with developing a strategic roadmap.
Embrace Candidates who can Tackle Adversity
Successful leaders will build teams that can weather adversity. Those who are able to identify, interview, and hire the right candidates will better succeed through times of crisis. Employees who believe they can persevere to win are much more likely to foster an environment of success than those who readily play the victim during challenges.
Are you ready to weather the 2023 storm?
Will you incorporate any of these leadership tactics to weather the economic downturn in 2023? Have you already been through challenging times in the past? Do you have mentors that you can turn to for advice during adversity?