Supporting teams facing pressure and uncertainty

The clue to this blog is in the title, when people are facing pressure and uncertainty they need bosses and organisations that will support them!

A key to this ‘support’ is to create what we like to call a ‘comfortable community’.  This is one of our 4 C’s of high functioning teams, we’ve have posted on this topic before, you can read it here.  In this post I wanted to expand on what a comfortable community looks like in practice.

If we draw a circle, then everything within it becomes our community, our inside world.  Everything outside for these purposes are excluded from our community (See diagram).

In the outside world, danger is in fact a constant.  It’s worth considering that the outside world will at least frustrate the community, and at worst kill it!  In days of old, perhaps that outside threat came from the weather or tigers!  For us today, there are a whole lot of other, more modern dangers at large, all aiming to threaten us.  Things like economics; social change; competition; electoral change; technology change; pandemics and other such catastrophes.

Within the comfortable community, our inside world, danger is not a constant but a variable.  It should be a place where the leaders set the environment of support and protection.  Inside we should be removing fear of internal danger.  The safer our inside world the better equipped we will be to fight the external dangers.  Simply energy spent on fighting internal dangers reduces our capacity to deal with the external.  There are a number of interesting examples of this around the world.  Occasions when (for example) companies had everyone take 4 weeks unpaid leave rather than making some staff redundant.  They protected everyone in the community.

Supporting teams facing pressure and uncertainty requires us to reduce the threats within that we can control.  We should ask what we should do to make the community as safe as possible.

There are important questions to ask, such as how big is your community?  Who do you let in? How strong or weak is the circle?  How porous is it?

If these things are clear, we need to work away at making it as safe and supportive a place as we possibly can.  This take focus effort and resources, you have to invest in creating a comfortable community.  It won’t happen by accident!

More on this topic in episode 26 of Squeeze the podcast.

Bob Bannister

Ships Captain