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Empathetic and Decisive Leadership is Key During Uncertain Economic Times

With an unsure global economic outlook, purposeful leadership has never been so important. The organizational level of preparedness shines a spotlight on how successful or how disjointed your company is viewed by your global workforce. Therefore, empathetic and decisive leadership is key over the next twelve to eighteen months. 

Given the current economic climate and bleak forecast for the balance of 2023, it would suggest that we are in for a bumpy ride to say the least.  Unemployment rates are expected to rise, layoffs might continue as many major employers have either announced or signaled, they will take actions to reduce risks as the economic challenges continue to play out.  As many organizations have gone on a yearlong hiring binge, the pull back on hiring and pending layoffs will raise lots of questions among all employees.   

The organizational level of preparedness shines a spotlight on how successful or how disjointed your organization is viewed by associates.  The current environment, compounded by news feeds, social media, and water cooler talk is an all-out afront to leadership – right, wrong or indifferent, employees will somehow tint the lens on the way they view their own leadership teams.   

One could argue there’s no better recognized global brand than McDonalds – they’re everywhere and the food is consistent and affordable.  While McDonalds flourished during the economic downturn as people looked for more cost-effective dining/food options, McDonalds CEO, Chris Kempczinski commented on its future in a recent CNN interview.  The company said it’s not resting on its laurels, outlining a plan to break down internal barriers, grow in a more innovative manner and reduce work that doesn’t align with the company’s priorities. While there’s a lot for us to be proud of, you’ve also told us that there’s more we can do,” Kempczinski wrote to employees. “We’re performing at a high level, but we can do even better.” McDonald's CEO. 

Being a leader, we not only need to meet employee’s basic needswe also provide empathy, reassurance and purpose.  Corporations appear to be more profitable than ever, so believable and well thought out communications and conditioning of the workforce is critical – we simply cannot allow employees to speculate, get the news from social media, newspapers or via the rumor mill.  Empathetic and decisive leadership is key over the next 12-18 months. 

Published on: January 24, 2023

Authors: James E. Jones

Topics: Global

James E. Jones

Senior Advisor, HR Policy Global, HR Policy Association

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