Darryl Stewart
By Darryl Stewart

My 3 best tips for managing through difficult times – Tip #2

By Darryl Stewart, Head of the Herd

Difficult times create stress and doubt.  In my previous blog on managing through difficult times, I explained that it is very important to be proactive and focus on what you and your team can do and not get hung up on things you can’t change.

I have seen some managers take this too far.  Human nature requires that we don’t just ignore the things that are out of our control.  We do need to acknowledge the situation and validate people’s feelings as we move on to being proactive.

Which approach to a “panicky” team member makes more sense to you?

Approach 1

Never mind that issue; there is nothing we can do about it.  Please stop bringing that up.  Let’s move on to this other thing…

Approach 2

This problem is concerning.  How do you feel about it?  Is there anything we can do to make this better?  How about we move on to some other things?  It may help us feel like we are doing something productive if we focus on…

Ears listening
Photo by Ky Olsen

Simple I know, but I have seen many results-oriented managers alienate themselves terribly by not taking people’s feelings into consideration. Validating someone’s feelings does not mean letting them take away your proactive focus, quite the opposite: it helps them focus the emotion onto something productive and bonds them to you.

Success in approach 2 requires that you listen carefully and, if appropriate, share your feelings on the situation. Approach 1 does not involve any listening. Listening to your staff is almost always a good thing!