So I’m a bit of a closet Discovery channel fan - and Gold Rush is right up there. It’s kind of soporific tele - a bit like Emmerdale or Corry but with gold miners.
Rick, one of the new kids in the Clondike, was having a tough time the past few weeks - lots of digging and washing with very little gold. His crew are paid based on what they find - so no gold, no pay!
So this run of bad luck wasn’t ideal. But instead of having a chat with his crew to find a solution, he clammed up. He’s the boss, so he piled the pressure on himself to find a solution and didn’t involve the team. They knew something was up (as people always do) so the silence left a goldmine sized vacuum that they filled with rumour and worry.
So what, you might well be asking, has this got to do with internal communications, employee engagement or leadership?
Lots as it happens, because the basic principles of strong leadership are as relevant in a gold mine as they are in an office.
It's not about having answers, it's about asking questions.
Leadership isn’t about having (or finding) all the answers - often it’s about asking the right questions to get to the answer. When you have a skilled and experienced team, the chances are that the answer will be right there and probably has been all the time
When there’s a crisis just remember one thing- your team probably knows. And if they don’t know the specifics, they’ll certainly sense something. Without any detail of what’s going on they’ll fill in the gaps themselves - often incorrectly. And that, of course, impacts performance, morale and trust levels. It can cause people to 'down tools' (metaphorically or actually) and in the worst case scenario, they may well leave.
Look for help.
This week Rick called one an old pal who took one look and told him exactly where to dig. He did that and bingo, GOLD! Sometimes an external perspective can really help you to see a solution that was right in front of you all the time.
However, it’s rarely as bad as you think
No matter how bad things get they’re often never as bad as they seem in your own head. They say ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ so TELL SOMEONE. Sharing the issue can not only make it feel a bit less of an issue but the person in whom you confide might just have a solution.
Who thought that Discovery Change would be a good source of leadership advice eh?