Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Like most business leaders, I’ve been fortunate to lead my organization through times of great success, but I’ve also had to navigate through turbulent times. Now, of course, we are all faced with a challenge leaders around the world never imagined.

Over the past decade, we’ve experienced both record-high sales and a record-setting global downturn. The wisdom gained through these experiences has increased my depth as a leader, and made our organization more adaptable and focused.

The most significant factor leading to sustainability of the company is the dedication and grit of our employees. The culture developed through these cyclical periods allowed the company to endure and return to success and growth.

Story continues below advertisement

What I’ve learned as a leader is that employees feel a sense of control over their decisions and are ultimately more committed when you are transparent, authentic and empathetic. By focusing on integrity, mutual respect and contextual communication you will foster a culture where employees dedicate themselves to the health of the company and stick with you, no matter what the numbers say. Let me share some tips I’ve learned about building a loyal, resourceful workforce.

Demonstrate your commitment to transparency

When a leader demonstrates a commitment to transparency, it breeds a trust that is vital in difficult times. In the midst of turbulence it’s not sufficient to make broad, imprecise statements like “We are in the midst of a global recession” or “We need to reduce costs.” To establish and maintain the trust and dedication of employees, leaders need to explain the context of major decisions affecting the employees. As a leader, you must allow your employees an open door to ask “Why,” and be prepared with a thoughtful answer for them.

Of course, this commitment can be difficult to sustain in the face of turmoil. For example, leading a subsidiary of a publicly traded global company doesn’t always afford you all the facts required to be fully transparent all the time. A thoughtful approach to sharing what you know and maybe what you don’t in a timely manner will serve to address the concerns of employees and foster trust. A leader of any organization must attempt to gain as much organizational insight as possible, and can only speak to the facts as he/she knows them. Transparency can only go as far as the facts allow.

Stay dedicated to company values and culture

The values and culture you have established in your organization should not be compromised by economic circumstances. In my experience, the reinforcement of values and culture is more important during times of turbulence as you redefine what success looks like in terms of other metrics such as sales, profit, market share, etc. As you manage through difficulty, you will surely emphasize different objectives than in times of no trouble in order to protect the company. For example, if your organization moves from hyper growth to decline, you will have to exercise different management tactics while staying true to the values and culture you’ve established. Employees maintain loyalty and performance under consistent, predictable leadership.

Deliver clear, consistent messages

Honesty and transparency are important, but a lack of clarity in your message can cloud its meaning for employees. As the leader, your team is relying on you to bring simplicity to complex problems. It’s vital to contextualize issues clearly and consistently, provide a path forward and be willing to accept feedback and change course quickly as necessary.

Commit to omni-channel communications

The ability to clearly communicate and, even more important, demonstrate through actions that employees are the heart of the company, are critical factors to your organization’s success.

There is no such thing as overcommunicating. With the variety of tools available from group chats, video collaboration, and e-mail, there is no excuse not to deliver your clear, consistent messages and demonstrate commitment and transparency. Even the simple act of sharing an e-mail update on a regular basis can serve to alleviate employee anxiety during times of uncertainty. No matter the employee count, geography and complexity of an organization, the leader needs to develop channels of communication to reinforce the values and culture.

Story continues below advertisement

Employees are not a line-item on the balance sheet, but they are the most important asset of a company. They are the stewards of your brand and the single biggest success factor in navigating through outside challenge and change. Competition in today’s business environment is tough but if you provide an atmosphere of trust and thoughtful leadership, you will attract and retain great employees, ensuring your company’s success and sustainability in the long term.

Carmine Cinerari is the president of Sharp Electronics of Canada

This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab.

Stay ahead in your career. We have a weekly Careers newsletter to give you guidance and tips on career management, leadership, business education and more. Sign up today.

Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies