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Be aware of shifting mindsets in difficult times

About 1 month ago By Potentia

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​The market is hard out there at the moment. Redundancies, restructures and cutbacks have been happening more and more across the tech sector, something we’ve definitely seen the impact of in the first half of this year. When all the fun stuff is thrown out the window, the vibe within teams can quickly turn sour, creating an active breeding ground for a bunch of different mindsets to creep in. Most of these are perfectly normal human reactions in the circumstances so as leaders, what really matters is how we pick up on the signs and respond. ​

Survivor syndrome

Most people know about this one. You’ve just been through a round of redundancies but when the dust settles, the vibe in the office just feels off. Those who remain start doubting the decisions from the leadership team, wondering about their own career paths, and stress levels hit the roof. It's like a domino effect – learned helplessness kicks in, and the usual motivation levels around the office take a nosedive.

Threat rigidity effect

This comes up a lot in all sorts of change (not just restructures) but the outcome remains the same. Instead of embracing change and innovation, everyone seems to be hitting the brakes. It's like they're stuck in "safe mode," afraid to deviate from their norm. This rigid mindset might seem like a natural response to threats, but it's a trap – destroying creativity and squashing new ideas.

Scarcity mindset

A scarcity mindset comes back to having less support than usual. With redundancies and reduced hours, perhaps the team is more stretched with less resources to do the job they need to do. From there, it’s easy for collaboration to take a backseat as people begin to focus on their own immediate needs. This scarcity mindset shrinks your team's vision, making them hyper-focused on short-term gains and a ‘everyone out for themselves’ type of attitude.

Psychological contract breach

A psychological contract is an unwritten, intangible agreement between employer and employee, talking to job security, future opportunities, support and expectations. In times like we have now, a lot of that trust can disappear quickly, leaving employees disengaged from the business.

Remember your super powers

Leadership in good times is easy – or easier. But it’s in markets like this that really show your teams why you’re in the role. While all these mindsets have the potential to cause further disruption thanks to productivity losses, poor morale and further resignations, don’t lose sight of the future. You’re a leader for a reason, so remember why you’ve been put in that position, pick up on the signs early and respond.

Above all else, remember this is just a moment in time. The market will always go through cycles and while there is only so much we can control internally, a part of bouncing back is making sure that our teams aren’t passive and waiting for it to happen. We need our people to be 100% behind us…believe in yourself, and others will too.