Balancing your own worries as an agency owner with the need to lead your team

Balance vulnerability with a sense of optimism

I know a lot of agency owners are worried right now, and they don’t know how much of their own fears and emotions they should share with their employees.

As a leader, you need to strike a balance. You can’t (and shouldn’t) hid your worry no matter how much you try. You need to let your team know that you do have concerns, just as they do. Communicate open and honestly.

At the same time, you ARE their leader. They are looking to you for guidance, so you may not have the answers but you need to put planning processes in place that give everyone a greater sense of purpose and control.

Solicit their ideas, feedback, and concerns. You will learn a lot from that. How do they plan to act once restrictions are lifted? Will they be heading right out to restaurants and the movies? Will they get on an airplane as soon as they can? What about attending large events whenever they are permitted again?

Just because you own a business doesn’t mean you are not human. Show that side to your employees, and then work together to pick up the ball and figure out where to go next.

Transcript

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I know that some of you agency owners are struggling with what to do and what to say to your employees right now how is it that you keep their morale up, keep their spirits up, and yet not lie to them not tell them about the difficulties that you’re facing, not hide the emotions that you’re having.

As a leader, you do have to strike a balance. You certainly have an obligation to your employees to help them get through this current situation.

But you’re struggling yourself, you have just as many fears if not more, as your employees you’re concerned, you’re worried about your family, about your business, about other things going on around you. And you need to be open with your employees and share that because they need to understand that their perceptions of things are not wrong, that they are not crazy to be concerned.

So absolutely, you need to share that at the same time. You need to bounce stat and have a sense of optimism.

Give your team the sense of confidence that you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t entirely so that they feel like you’re putting together a plan, you clearly are not going to have your final plan right now, we don’t know what the future looks like, we need to take steps to start thinking about the next three, six and nine months.

It’s going to be our best guess. But we need to have those plans. We need to bring our teams in on that. Talk to them. Let them share their ideas, give their views, they’re probably going to tell you things that you didn’t think about. They’re going to perhaps change your point of view on certain things.

Ask them how they’re going to behave. When this is all said and done. Are they going to feel comfortable going out to restaurants or the movies right away? Are they going to get out in the airplane as soon as they can? What about going to large events, take their temperature start surveying surveying them and finding out what their behaviors going to be?

Not everybody is gonna think the same way as you do and the more perspectives you get, the more it will inform the decisions that you have to make for your business. More importantly, your employees have tons of ideas about how your agency can adapt to client needs, how can how you can pivot to adjacent industries, or perhaps shuffle your service offerings a little bit to be more appealing in the current environment.

So by all means, show your vulnerability, show your own emotion, but temper it by demonstrating leadership and vision and communication to help get your business out of the circumstance that it’s in now.

Chip Griffin

Chip Griffin

Chip is the Founder & CEO of Agency Leadership Advisors and a longtime agency owner and executive. He helps PR and marketing agency leaders build better businesses.