Bust Out of Recession Mode—How to Rally the Troops

How companies can cultivate confidence, belief, and motivation from their talent.

By Mike Noble, Managing Partner, Camden Consulting Group

Leaders must be able to help their employees see the possibility and promise of what is to come, while making peace with the past. A company can’t succeed unless its employees are invested in its success, and they need to get into the right mindset. An organization’s leadership team must have the ability to motivate and inspire. Here’s what leaders need to do to rally their troops and get them excited about the future:

Balance today with tomorrow—Leadership teams must balance the reality of the current situation with the vision for the future. They must acknowledge the here and now by being honest about the state of the company and the economy. Of course, as they demonstrate that they see reality clearly, they also must emphasize that they have the courage and confidence in their team to overcome today’s obstacles. Leaders also must help employees “see” the future by painting a vivid picture of the successes that are possible, and the steps necessary to get there.

Set high standards—Leaders can help build a desire for excellence among employees by raising expectations, setting high standards, and encouraging individuals and teams to accept challenges. Make sure the expectations are clear and attainable and that strategies are put in place to measure and reward results.

Build confidence—There is no use in setting goals unless employees feel encouraged and supported to reach them. Employees must believe they can meet the standards, and they will be more apt to believe in themselves if leadership has confidence—and communicates that confidence—in the organization’s teams.

Support your teams—Work teams that may have been depleted by layoffs may be struggling to keep up with their current workload. If they are expected to reach additional goals, management must give them the resources they need to reach them, including equipment, budgets, training, coaching, and positive feedback.

Present a united front—Employees will feel more invested in an organization that portrays itself as a team. Leaders should present goals and objectives as things that must be reached together. Leaders and employees should think in terms of “we,” not “us” and “them.”

Instill enthusiasm—Leaders need to demonstrate their passion for the organization, its people, and its direction. They should get excited, communicate often, ask for feedback, and encourage dialog. Enthusiasm is contagious, but it must be cultivated!

Understand what motivates—Employees will work hard for an organization if they feel they are getting something back in return. Leaders must be able to inspire their employees to work hard for the company by meeting their employees’ needs. Leaders should consider what motivates employees as they develop their organization’s management strategies. Here are the top five motivators at work:

  • Job challenge
  • Accomplishing a worthwhile goal
  • Learning new skills
  • Personal development
  • Autonomy

Determine your skills and style—Are you a motivational leader? Look at your approach to motivating others. What is your style? Assess your skills to determine how you can improve your motivational capabilities.

Mike Noble is a managing partner at Camden Consulting Group and oversees all of the firm’s strategic business development activities and client engagements. Under his leadership, Camden has established a reputation as a thought partner in the growing talent management arena. He splits his time running Camden while providing leadership development coaching and consulting to senior executives. Before joining Camden, Noble held diverse senior line management roles with FleetBoston Financial. For more information, visit http://www.camdenconsulting.com.

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.