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Watch for Bad Behaviors during Tough Times

It is pretty clear - tough times can lead to bad behavior. Examples include:

  • hiding information
  • self-serving actions
  • empire building
  • blaming others for mistakes
  • undermining other people's team

Leaders need to watch for these bad behaviors and quash them when they become visible. Especially in these economically challenging times, people become more anxious about losing their jobs because they are doubtful that they can find another good job. As a leader, you need to be extra careful to ask yourself "what could the alterior motives be?". Look at people's actions from all angles. Do not naively assume that all intents are good.

If a person's approach or attitude changes dramatically, there may be something to think through. For example, if someone has recently started to build a larger organization, ask yourself why that might be and if it's in the best interest of the group and the company.

If a person has recently become critical of other folks whom they have not been critical before, ask yourself why, in an effort to determine the validity of their concerns. On the flip side, if they have recently become a fan of someone, ask yourself why.

Do not underestimate the impact that the economy has on your team. Some people are deathly afraid of losing their jobs and will take an approach in which they will do anything to stay employed. Some folks will be willing to jeopardize their integrity, through their friends under the bus, attempt to build an empire, hide information in an effort to be irreplaceable, etc.

The domino effect, if you allow one person to do this, is that others will start to adopt the same behaviors in an effort to protect themselves. Especially if a person is rewarded for the behavior through promotions or greater responsibilities, others will start playing the same game. This leads to a slippery slope.

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