Tough Times, Tough Decisions without Rough Relationships – Aparna Sharma

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As a child I used to crave for my mother’s attention. I used to tell mom, “You are so strict. Baki mummies ko dekho.”(Look at other mothers). Now I laugh at myself because not a single day goes without talking to her. While for me my mother was strict, she taught me the most valuable lesson of being assertive and firm when she had to take tough decisions. Aparna 2015(2)The best of the lessons on motivation I learnt from her. Some of them have helped me to cruise through tough times and helped me to take tough decisions without actually making relations rough.

It is very interesting to see the pace of change around us. On one side different economies in the world are undergoing radical changes and on the other side huge social revolution is taking place across different cultures. In future, the civil societies & consequently the organizations are bound to be managed differently. To manage these changes in the corporate the managerial skills needed, the attitude required and the functional competencies that one needs to have will be different.

The need of the hour is to have agile leaders, who have the ability to work with others and through others to execute their priorities. These set of leadership skills can be taught experientially and this is not something that you learn by attending lectures in a classroom.

While you enter the corporate jungle, where people would be wilder than the wildest and from methodical thinking that has been taught in your institute to the psychosis of ambiguity, your world will have new definitions. Friends you will make, foes you will unknowingly create, lessons you will learn and times when you will have to unlearn what you have learnt to learn new things. It becomes important that you demonstrate “Leadership with humanness” which will make you “BOLD” and keep you “Beautiful” (Bold & Beautiful) ☺

When times are tough, and everybody at work is nervous, as leaders you must help employees stay engaged, focused and motivated. A memo won’t suffice. No team-building exercise or pat on the back can completely restore workplace confidence. But here are a few ways to help maintain productivity:

Everybody handles stress differently, so a leader needs to take a one-on-one approach. Talk informally with employees to find out what each needs to stay on track.

Keep your own worries to yourself As a leader, you have two difficult jobs: empathize with employees and deal with your own stress. It’s important to keep your feelings to yourself since your own apprehension can create panic among employees.

Plan ahead Set long term goals with employees to show they have a future role with the company. As part of the planning process, the objectives of the organisation are defined in simple and clear words. The obvious outcome of this is that all the employees get a direction and all their efforts are focused towards a particular end. In this way, planning has an important role in the attainment of the objectives of the organisation.

Plug leaks Intercept rumours immediately since they can grow into unsubstantiated concerns that can lower productivity. You can manage rumours exactly as you would manage any other negative behaviour from an employee in your workplace. Use a coaching approach, when possible, to help the employee improve his/her behaviour. But, when needed, rumour management starts with a serious talk between the employee and the supervisor.

Move dissatisfied employees Some employees can’t be motivated and their discontent can draw a disproportionate amount of time and energy away from managers. They can also bring down the morale of an entire unit. Ask how you can help improve their work experience. Offer to move them into another work area, a different department or even a different company.

Help employees fulfill career goals Sit down and find out what employees want to get out of their jobs and the company in general. If the employee wants to take on more responsibility or move into a different department, investigate the possibilities and get back to them with options. Offer clear career paths each time. If advancement requires a degree, tell them about tuition assistance or scholarships the company may offer.

Praise and recognize hard work There are plenty of simple and effective ways employers can recognize hard work, including an appreciation note via email. Encourage other employees to appreciate their fellow colleagues for good work done. Organize recognition events to honour bigger accomplishments at luncheons, banquets or company picnics. Make this as a part of your culture not as a one off exercise during difficult times.

Don’t bear down on employees because you’re stressed out Ordering employees around like a drill sergeant is counterproductive. Offer direction while allowing employees to come up with their own ideas and suggestions.

Keep your door open Employees may need frequent assurances Give them access to your time and be honest with them. Don’t be evasive or promise anything you can’t fulfill. Be candid but also let them know there are things you can’t discuss

Be Authentic at all times!!!! 

Aparna is felicitated with the “HR Super Achiever Award” by Star News at the 20th World HRD Congress 2012, She is a passionate learner in her journey of over 19 years of intense and expansive HR work. In her diverse roles, Aparna has successfully been a learning partner, mentor and coach to leaders, leadership teams and organisations to build competencies, learning abilities and nimbleness for achieving purposeful performance.

A wildlife enthusiast and an amateur photographer, Aparna spends most of her leisure time closer to nature. She also loves travelling as it gives her an opportunity to meet new people.  Books are her favourite ally and she dedicates every day some time to read something new. An avid reader, she has a collection of some of the best books of the century.

She has recently launched her maiden book, “Reality Bytes-The Role of HR in Today’s World” which has received wide acclaim.

To know more about Aparna, visit: –    

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