“The most important thing for a leader to do in these agencies is to think about, How can I put the facts out there to separate it out from the fiction to make sure folks can really focus on the mission of our organization,” Fox said.
If a manager does not have the answer, it is OK to say, “I don’t know,” Fox said.
The communications is a “two-way” dialogue. Managers can also use the economic situation to solicit feedback and ideas from employees. For example, OMB hosts a SAVE Award for cost-cutting ideas.
By asking for employees’ ideas, “it gives a sense of solidarity, to say we’re not simply going to make rash cuts in response to whatever guidance we receive from OMB,” Fox said. “rather, we’re really going to work together to make the smartest, most effective cuts so we don’t threaten the mission.”
Managers should not forget that the announcement of a possible pay freeze has a “personal and emotional” impact on workers.
“We’re a package when we come to work. We’re not only an employee, we’re also a person,” Fox said. “Better understanding those issues will show leaders the best way to motivate and inspire the very best performance they can get from their folks.”