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Monday, September 21, 2009

Don't borrow trouble

"The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work." ~ Robert Frost

Companies and other organizations are all rumor mills, aren't they? Some places are better or worse than others. Gossip and rumors are bad, in general, when they hurt others and diminish productivity.

With a bad economy and so many companies and shops struggling to survive, the rumors, gossip, and fear can get really out of hand. How can bosses overcome such negativity as it tries to creep into their teams?

  • Don't join in the rumor mongering. Everybody likes to talk. If a manager needs to talk about things on his or her mind, he should speak to a colleague or mentor (bosses don't want to hear it).
  • Focus the troops on the affirmative nature of the team or department. Regardless of what's happening on the outside, there ought to be something positive going on with the group.
  • Keep the people anchored in the reality of the moment. Don't let them go down the "what if" path. The worst thing to do is "borrow trouble". They don't know what's going to happen in the future and it's a waste of time to trying to figure it out.
  • Remind the team that they can't control what's going on around them. What they can control is themselves and how they perform their duties. I tell my team members the same thing I tell myself: "put your head down and work". That's what each of us can control.

What other ways are there to keep team members focused on positive attitudes and productivity, regardless of the situation?

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