An impending reduction in force distracts employees from normal business whether it’s real or not. Either way it becomes an elephant in the room that everyone knows is there and no one wants to bring up. How should leaders deal with elephants like that?
It depends. If the elephant is an ignored but solvable problem, you can either tackle it head on or defer it. If the issue is a figment of someone’s imagination, you can often make it disappear by talking about it. If the elephant is an insistent disconnect with some basic value like integrity, you cannot get on with the rest of your meeting, program or initiative until you deal with it.
Think in terms of three different types of issues and ways of dealing with them (or not):
- Ignored: Tackle head on or defer
- Imagined: Talk about to make disappear
- Insistent: Deal with it or stay stalled