1. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. One of the quickest credibility destroyers is to be forced to make layoffs after you promised earlier that they wouldn’t happen.
2. If you don’t know, say so. There is more credibility in honesty than speculation.
3. Keep looking for opportunities. They’re still there, but harder to see given the current economic climate.
4. Re-recruit top talent. Underperformers hunker down in a tough job market; top talent realizes they still have options. Take care of your peak performers.
5. Be encouraging but avoid “happy talk.” The latter is naive and doesn’t recognize the real difficulties people are facing. Encouragement is a vote of confidence in the ability of your team to face the challenges successfully and be resilient.
6. Become rigorous in the pursuit of information. Much of what passes as news is nothing more than popular opinion. Dig deeper than others and qualify the information you find.
7. Be shrewd in budget cuts. Training and advertising are usually the first to go during a recession; they also create a bigger return on investment during a recession. “Common knowledge” is often an oxymoron when it comes to making cutbacks.
8. Keep playing to win. Many have become completely defensive and are simply playing not to lose.