Managing the Unmanageable: Keep Your Staff on Track
Managing the Unmanageable: Keep Your Staff on Track During Hard Times

Written by Katy Goshtasbi

Posted on: March 4, 2019

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Managing the Unmanageable, Image of people standing around

So often in leadership, managing our employees seem unmanageable. I remember practicing law all those years and often wincing at the thought of dealing with my direct reports. This was especially the case when there were difficult situations. After all, everything impacts “the brand”. Let’s discuss how to keep your staff on track during hard times.

First off, I’ve come to learn that our staff are not difficult to manage. We just show up as poor leaders and manager and that’s why we find staff so hard to manage and keep on track. So, our mind-set and mentality, as leaders, are the problem and also the solution/key.

If we choose to see differently, then our staff is no longer unmanageable-during hard or easy times. What does that mean?

I mean we need to do a reframe on what is so unmanageable and what we consider hard times. True, that in business (and in life) there will always be hard times- whether that’s economic or not. But what else leads to such “hard times”?

This question leads to choosing to see our staff as humans. What do I mean?

My experiences as a consultant in corporate America has proven that employers often do not want to choose to see their employees as humans who bring their human issues and challenges to work. It seems so much easier to just focus on “revenues”, “operational challenges” and “organizational charts”.

However, at the end of the day, employees cannot leave their humanity at home. We must bring all our baggage with us to work because we don’t know any different. This is what leads to hard times at work, from my decades of experience.

So, what’s an employer to do when employees bring their baggage to work with them and generate hard times for themselves and for their employer?

I’ve found the number one tool to keep your staff on track during the hard times is to focus on effective communication. Yuck, right?

I define effective communication in two parts:

  • Direct– to be effective, communication must be direct. Can you look your employees in the eye have a dialogue with them about being their best selves? It seems simple, yet it is not easy.
  • Kind– to be effective, communication must also be kind. Are you looking at your staff with compassion and understanding? Are you then directly communicating with them from this place of compassion and understanding?

If you find this content hard to stomach, you’re not alone. I get it. My only ask is that you be brave and stop and really evaluate your staff and leadership style. Be honest with yourself. I know you want to succeed and you want the best for your team- through the hard times and through the profitable times.

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I’m always here to discuss this topic with leadership. Feel free to email me to connect and dialogue. After all, every situation is different and deserves individual attention.

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