Turmoil is defined as a state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty. When someone is in turmoil it can create fear, anxiety, stress, unhappiness, and disengagement. It can also create energy, determination, fascination, and motivation to make it through the tough time. We all have personal and professional turmoil throughout our lives. Some of it is minor; at other times it can be life altering.
Throughout my career I have thrived with change. I love working for companies that are in some sort of turmoil and need to adapt to succeed. It creates a challenge and, when handled correctly, can make the company stronger. The path through the turmoil is not easy and can make people extremely uncomfortable. During the late nights and hard work, you may even question whether you want to stick it out. Is all this stress worth it? Do I really want to fight this hard? These feelings are normal! Sharing your concerns is a good thing when they are constructive. Being engaged and involved will help you grow and can have positive impacts on those around you.
I try to be optimistic and look at the positives in the turmoil. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have those uneasy feelings at times also. It is critical for leaders to be strong, supportive, open, and willing to hear their people’s fears and challenges. It is this communication and relationship building that gets everyone through the roughest days. When we support their feelings, we allow them to change their view. We help them understand that while things may be stressful, great things are coming.
Leaders: you may not always know what the changes are or how they will look. But it is critical that your people see you as confident and supportive. The majority of people’s fears and stress is from the unknown. If we can communicate that their fears are normal and we become a cheerleader through the rough times, it will help them see the good and not only focus on the bad. I’ve seen it so many times: the companies that embrace their people are those companies that thrive and grow. Our biggest asset is our people and when we take care of them, they will take care of the company!
Dr. Katie Ervin is the founder and CEO of Catalyst Development. She has contributed to Brainz Magazine and the Forbes Business Council. She is currently writing her first book.