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26 Jun 2016

How do I manage Brexit?

by Melanie Franklin

The referendum result has caused shock to many who are now uncertain about their jobs or the status of pan European projects involving UK offices.

As well as the shock there is too little understanding of the way forward to be able to make firm plans for next steps.

So if you are a manager facing questions from your team what do you say?

First – recognise the impact of shock

  • It takes time to absorb and process information
  • Shock causes stress which reduces our ability to work collaboratively as our thoughts turn inwards as we worry about the impact on our own circumstances
  • This stress increases our emotional reactions and reduces our rational thought so expect everyone to be a little more short tempered than usual
  • Accept that productivity will not be at its peak so don’t push for high levels of activity, cut everyone a little slack to minimise tension and aid recovery

Second – clarify what is known

If your work has short term deadlines and deliverables that still need to be met, get people to focus on this. We know that effective teams have a common, shared goal so communicate what that is and keep reminding people.

During shock the conversations that people have as they try to make sense of the new information can go off at tangents. Keep repeating the known certainties, objectives and what needs to be done in the short term.

Third – reassure everyone

Tell staff that as soon as new information becomes available there will be clear and transparent re-planning. This will give everyone a chance to understand the impact of any changes in direction on their work and their circumstances. It makes them feel part of the solution and reassures them that new circumstances will not be imposed upon them. This feeling of inclusiveness provides reassurance.

I wish all managers affected by Brexit lots of luck tomorrow morning. I know I will be following my 3 point plan so I hope it helps you.

Melanie Franklin
26th June 2016