We make choices everyday. And, for the most part, they are freely made, independent of any external causal factor. Or are they? One of the fundamental teachings of Christendom amongst Evangelicals is the teaching that man is a free moral agent.
We are taught and reminded over and over that we have free will. In fact, I dare say that soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) is based on the assumption of free will. Without free will, we are only left with the extreme Calvinistic position of predestination. Calvinism has five pivotal pillars upon which it rests. Of the five, perhaps the most contentious is the doctrine of predestination. At its core, this teaching effectively nullifies man's independence to choose.
Here are the pillars of Calvinistic theology: The five points of Calvinism can be summarized by the acronym TULIP. T stands for total depravity, U for unconditional election, L for limited atonement, I for irresistible grace, and P for perseverance of the saints. Here are the definitions and Scripture references Calvinists use to defend their beliefs: Total Depravity – As a result of Adam’s fall, the entire human race is affected; all humanity is dead in trespasses and sins.
Man is unable to save himself. Unconditional Election – Because man is dead in sin, he is unable to initiate a response to God; therefore, in eternity past God elected certain people to salvation. Election and predestination are unconditional; they are not based on man’s response because man is unable to respond, nor does he want to. Limited Atonement – Because God determined that certain ones should be saved as a result of God’s unconditional election, He determined that Christ should die for the elect alone.
All whom God has elected and for whom Christ died will be saved. Irresistible Grace – Those whom God elected He draws to Himself through irresistible grace. God makes man willing to come to Him. When God calls, man responds. Perseverance of the Saints – The precise ones God has elected and drawn to Himself through the Holy Spirit will persevere in faith. None whom God has elected will be lost; they are eternally secure. In this submission, my main interest is informed by Calvin's second point – Unconditional Election. It has grave implications on the subject matter at hand – free will.
In Calvin's theology, there is no such thing as free choice. Man cannot choose for himself. God has already decided or, if He hasn't, influences man's choices. We are reduced to mere pawns without any independent decision-making capabilities. Moral free agency is at the heart of the salvation message. Man, the doctrine goes, has the ability to determine his own fate – eternal fate – by his free choices.
Whether he ends up in Heaven or in Hell is entirely up to him, the belief in moral free agency posits. This is very critical. In Calvinistic theology, this stance is obviously refuted. Man has no free will to control his fate. But what is free will? It is useless to have a study on this term "free will" unless we stick to a strict, concise and precise definition of the term. As will be seen from our dictionaries, "free will" does not have for a concise or precise definition the ability to "make choices." Yet this is the way it is often defined.
The American Heritage College Dictionary: "free will n. 1. The ability or discretion to choose; free choice. 2. The power of making free choices that are unconstrained by external circumstances or by an agency such as fate or divine will." My Meriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary/Eleventh Edition has an even more precise definition: "free will n. freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention." Notice that our dictionaries are specific in stating that it is "FREE choice." That is the definition of "free will," rather than just "choice" alone. To be an expression of "free will," choices must also be free. Free from what?
There are six fundamental areas that must be satisfied: 1. Free from PRIOR CAUSES. 2. Free from CONSTRAINT. 3. Free from EXTERNAL CIRCUMSTANCES. 4. Free from FATE. 5. Free from DIVINE WILL. 6. Free from DIVINE INTERVENTION. Those who would argue for free will, however, refuse being held to these precise and concise definitions. They want the mere ability to "make a choice" to be considered an act of "free will." Well, it is nothing of the kind. It cannot possibly be so. That would be a very narrow and misleading definition. Making a choice has absolutely nothing to do with the doctrine of "free will." This is easily demonstrated by an example. Computers can be said to make "choices."
They can make trillions of choices per second. It would take a trillion people to make that many choices in a second. All that these marvelous machines do is make choices. Now then, will anyone contend that computers have un-programmed and uncaused, free wills? So, now we have proof that making choices is not the same as "free will." Just as computers make choices, billions of them, but cannot be said to have free wills. Computers do not have "free wills," yet THEY CAN MAKE CHOICES. But those choices are anything but free.
Their choices are all a matter of pre-programming. They cannot think and act independently of "causes." Neither can man think or do anything outside of the realm of "causes." In order for an effect to be present, there must first be a cause, and once something is caused, the effect must follow, and neither could have been prevented.
By "unconditional election," Calvin meant that some are elected to Heaven, while others are elected to Hell, and that this election is unconditional. It is wholly God's prerogative and without any condition. By unconditional election, Calvin meant that God has already decided who will be saved and who will be lost, and the individual has absolutely nothing to do with it. He can only hope that God has elected him for Heaven and not for Hell.
This teaching so obviously disagrees with the oft-repeated invitations in the Bible and indeed in our evangelical circles to sinners to come to Christ and be saved that some readers will think that I have overstated the doctrine. So I will quote John Calvin in his "Institutes," Book III, chapter 23, "….Not all men are created with similar destiny but eternal life is foreordained for some , and eternal damnation for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say, he is predestined either to life or to death."
So Calvinism teaches that it is God's own choice that some people are to be damned forever. He never intended to save them. He foreordained them to go to Hell. And when He offers salvation in the Bible, He does not offer it to those who were foreordained to be damned.
It is offered only to those who were foreordained to be saved. As should be obvious, even from a cursory reading of Calvin's position, the idea of a free will simply does not hold. Indeed it cannot. This teaching further insists that we need not try to win men to Christ because men cannot be saved unless God has planned for them to be saved. And if God has planned for them to be eternally lost, they will not come to Christ, no matter how much we preach to them.
In other words, it cannot be their fault for not responding to the gospel because God never gave them the power or willingness to respond. They have no choice! There is the Bible doctrine of God's foreknowledge, predestination and election. These are Biblical terms. Paul introduced them to the New Testament.
Most knowledgeable Christians agree that God has His controlling hand on the affairs of men. This cannot be denied. They agree that according to the Bible, He selects individuals like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David as instruments to do certain things he has planned.
Most Christians agree that God may choose a nation-particularly that He did choose Israel, through which He gave the law, the prophets, and eventually through whom the Saviour Himself would come – and that there is a Bible doctrine that God foreknows all things. Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurred to God? God, in His foreknowledge, knows who will trust Jesus Christ as Saviour, and He has predestined to see that they are justified and glorified.
He will keep all those who trust Him and see that they are glorified. But the doctrine that God elected some men to Hell, that they were born to be damned by God's own choice, is a radical heresy not taught anywhere in the Bible. Nowhere does the Bible teach that God wills for some to go to Heaven and wills others to go to Hell. No. The Bible teaches that God would have all men to be saved. Second Peter 3:9 says that He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
First Timothy 2:4 says, "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." Those who teach that God would only have some to be saved, while He would have others to be lost are misrepresenting God and the Bible. Does God really predestinate some people to be saved and predestinate others to go to Hell, so that they have no free choice? Absolutely not! Nobody is predestined to be saved, except as he chooses of his own free will to come to Christ and trust Him for salvation.
And no one is predestined to go to Hell, except as he chooses of his own free will to reject Christ and refuses to trust Him as Saviour. John 3:36 says, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." Nothing could be plainer.
The man who goes to Heaven goes because he comes to Jesus Christ and trusts Him as Saviour. And the man who goes to Hell does so because he refuses to come to Jesus Christ and will not trust Him as Savior. This is what the Bible teaches. But let's come back to the myth of free will. There is not one example that can be presented by a scientific method that can demonstrate that man’s will is free from causality.
Neither is there an example in all Scripture that can be shown to be the exercise of a will that is free from causality. And that certainly includes all that our Lord Himself ever thought, said, or did. We will explore this shortly and at great length. Up until the very last day with their Lord, the apostles all believed that they possessed the power of free will, which could enable them to choose their own destiny, and that they could and would have the strength of self determinism and free will to maintain that course.
I doubt not that this is what they had been taught and believed with staunch orthodoxy. It was a beautiful illusion as they were soon to discover. They firmly believed that they could choose their fate independent of any external causal factor. But Jesus told His disciples that they would all forsake Him. In other words, Jesus was foretelling events that would cause (yes, even ‘force,’ if you will) them to change their wills, against their previously stated wills.
They of course, all denied that Jesus knew what He was talking about. "And Jesus said unto them, all ye shall be offended because of Me this night; for it is written, I shall smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered" (Mark 14:27; Zechariah 13:7). The disciples all said that they would remain loyal. They no doubt believed it. But Jesus said that they would all be offended because of Him.
Was there a reason for God causing the disciples to will loyalty to Jesus and then in the same night to will to deny Jesus? Does God do anything in vain without a reason? This was all part of their conversion process. God totally humiliated them by proving to them that their own will was not free to do what they wanted, but that "…it is God [not man] which works in you BOTH TO WILL [God causes us ‘to will’] and TO DO [God causes us ‘to do’] of His good pleasure" to bring about His intentions (Philippians. 2:13).
In just one night God smashed the presumed free will of all the disciples. They lost confidence in their flesh after that night. James later shows us just how well he learned this lesson of so-called free self determinism: "Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.
For what is your life? It is even a vapor, which appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. For that ye ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that" (James 4:13-15). Free will? Where? James dismantles it here! He plainly states that man's will is subject to God's will.
James certainly agrees with Scripture and Science that man has the ability "to will." But he also fully recognizes that there are two factors that constantly oppose and change the will of man, so that it cannot be said that the will is free to will its own destiny for even a day or an hour. Man can will, but his will is not free. It cannot be. What are these two factors over which man has absolutely no control whatsoever?
1. CIRCUMSTANCES: What did the Holy Spirit of God inspire (cause?) James to explain as a major factor in what determines the true outcome of man’s will? Answer: "Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow." God changes the minds and wills of mankind around the world, a billion times a minute, through circumstances that "you know not" are actually the cause of your choices and your changed choices. We are often, if not most of the time, completely unaware of what actually caused us to do or say or think as we do.
We only flippantly, and sometimes ignorantly and arrogantly, believe that nothing caused us to think, say, or act in certain ways; that it was all us. How did all the disciples will to remain loyal to Jesus no matter what at one moment in time, and in the next moment in time they all changed their wills to forsake Him? What changed their wills? Circumstances.
One moment they were at ease and safe in the upper room, and at a later moment they were in the garden surrounded by Roman soldiers! Fear was the circumstance that caused their (un-free) wills to change. So, it was the presence of certain circumstances that caused the disciples to will as they did.
But what caused the circumstances to be as they were to ensure that they would will appropriately to fulfill Christ’s prophecy concerning their denying and forsaking Him? 2. GOD’S WILL: Notice the second thing that the Holy Spirit inspired James to write regarding what will or will not happen on any given day to any given person. "…if the Lord will…" Who was in charge of all these circumstances, which caused the disciples to change their wills? Why God, of course! They did not want to change their wills.
They did not desire to deny their Lord and Savior. They did not wish to make liars and fools of themselves.
They did not want to be shown that they were all cowards. Well then, why did they change their wills if they did not wish to change their wills? Were they free to not change their wills? No, they were not free. Or, were they? Someone might say, "Of course they were free! They could have stuck it out even if it meant being arrested with Jesus."
But is that really the case? I don't think so! Remember, Jesus (God), had already told them how things would play out. If the disciples willed themselves through the incidents of Gethsemane and followed Jesus anyway, He would have been proven a liar. Can God lie?
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” Carl Sagan
Corruption is a heavy price to pay. The clean ones pay and suffer at the mercy of people who cannot have enough. They always want to eat and eat so selfishly like a bunch of ugly masked shrews. I hope God forgives me for ridiculing his creatures, but that mammal is so greedy. But corruption is not the new kid on the block, because it has always been everywhere.
This of course begs the question, why that is so? The common answer was and still is – abuse and misuse of power by those in power and weak institutions, disempowered to control the leaders. In 1996, the then President of The World Bank, James D. Wolfensohn named the ‘C-Word’ for the first time during an annual meeting of the Bretton Woods Institutions. A global fight against corruption started. Transparency International began its work. Internal and external audits mushroomed; commissions of inquiry followed and ever convoluted public tender procedures have become a bureaucratic nightmare to the private sector, trying to fight red tape.
The result is sobering corruption today is worse than it was 25 years ago. There is no denying that strong institutions help, but how does it come that in the annual Transparency International Ranking the same group of countries tend to be on the top while another group of countries, many African among them, tend to be on the bottom? Before one jumps to simple and seductive conclusions let us step back a moment.
Wolfensohn called corruption a cancer that destroys economies like a cancer destroys a body. A cancer is, simplified, good cells in a body gone bad, taking control of more and more good cells until the entire body is contaminated and eventually dies. So, let us look at the good cells of society first: they are family ties, clan and tribe affiliation, group cohesion, loyalty, empathy, reciprocity.
Most ordinary people like the reader of these lines or myself would claim to share such values. Once we ordinary people must make decisions, these good cells kick in: why should I hire a Mrs. Unknown, if I can hire my niece whose strengths and weaknesses I know? If I hire the niece, she will owe me and support my objectives.
Why should I purchase office furniture from that unknown company if I know that my friend’s business has good quality stuff? If I buy from him, he will make an extra effort to deliver his best and provide quality after sales service? So, why go through a convoluted tender process with uncertain outcome? In the unlikely case my friend does not perform as expected, I have many informal means to make him deliver, rather than going through a lengthy legal proceeding?
This sounds like common sense and natural and our private lives do work mostly that way and mostly quite well.
The problem is scale. Scale of power, scale of potential gains, scale of temptations, scale of risk. And who among us could throw the first stone were we in positions of power and claim not to succumb to the temptations of scale? Like in a body, cancer cells start growing out of proportion.
So, before we call out for new leaders – experience shows they are rarely better than the old ones – we need to look at ourselves first. But how easy is that? If I were the niece who gets the job through nepotism, why should I be overly critical? If I got a big furniture contract from a friend, why should I spill the beans? What right do I have to assume that, if I were a president or a minister or a corporate chief procurement officer I would not be tempted?
This is where we need to learn. What is useful, quick, efficient, and effective within a family or within a clan or a small community can become counterproductive and costly and destructive at larger corporate or national scale. Our empathy with small scale reciprocity easily permeates into complacency and complicity with large scale corruption and into an acquiescence with weak institutions to control it.
Our institutions can only be as strong as we wish them to be.
I was probably around ten years old and have always been that keen enthusiastic child that also liked to sing the favourite line of, ‘the world will become a better place.’ I would literally stand in front of a mirror and use my mom’s torch as a mic and sing along Michael Jackson’s hit song, ‘We are the world.’
Despite my horrible voice, I still believed in the message. Few years later, my annoyance towards the world’s corrupt system wonders whether I was just too naïve. Few years later and I am still in doubt so as to whether I should go on blabbing that same old boring line. ‘The world is going to be a better place.’ The question is, when?
The answer is – as always: now.
This is pessimistic if not fatalistic – I challenge Sagan’s outlook with a paraphrased adage of unknown origin: Some people can be bamboozled all of the time, all people can be bamboozled some of the time, but never will all people be bamboozled all of the time.
We, the people are the only ones who can heal society from the cancer of corruption. We need to understand the temptation of scale and address it. We need to stop seeing ourselves just a victim of a disease that sleeps in all of us. We need to give power to the institutions that we have put in place to control corruption: parliaments, separation of power, the press, the ballot box. And sometimes we need to say as a niece – no, I do not want that job as a favour, I want it because I have proven to be better than other contenders.
It is going to be a struggle, because it will mean sacrifices, but sacrifices that we have chosen, not those imposed on us.
Let us start today.
*Bokani Lisa Motsu is a student at University of Botswana
Parliament, the second arm of State through its parliamentary committees are one of Botswana’s most powerful mechanisms to ensure that government is held accountable at all times. The Accounting Officers are mostly Permanent Secretaries across government Ministries and Chief Executive Officers, Director Generals, Managing Directors of parastatals, state owned enterprises and Civil Society.
So parliament plays its oversight authority via the legislators sitting on a parliamentary committee and Accounting Officers sitting in the hot chair. When left with no proper checks and balances, the Executive is prone to abuse the arrangement and so systematic oversight of the executive is usually carried out by parliamentary committees. They track the work of various government departments and ministries, and conduct scrutiny into important aspects of their policy, direction and administration.
It is not rocket science that effective oversight requires that committees be totally independent and able to set their own agendas and have the power to summon ministers and top civil servants to appear and answer questions. Naturally, Accounting Officers are the highest ranking officials in the government hierarchy apart from cabinet Ministers and as such wield much power and influence in the performance of government. To illustrate further, government performance is largely owed to the strategic and policy direction of top technocrats in various Ministries.
It is disheartening to point out that the recent parliament committees — as has been the case all over the years — has laid bare the incompetency, inadequacy and ineptitude of people bestowed with great responsibilities in public offices. To say that they are ineffective and inefficient sounds as an understatement. Some appear useless and hopeless when it comes to running the government despite the huge responsibility they possess.
If we were uncertain about the degree at which the Accounting Officers are incompetent, the ongoing parliament committees provide a glaring answer. It is not an exaggeration to say that ordinary people on the streets have been held ransom by these technocrats who enjoy their air conditioned offices and relish being chauffeured around in luxurious BX SUV’s while the rest of the citizenry continue to suffer. Because of such high life the Accounting Officers seem to have, with time, they have gotten out of touch with the people they are supposed to serve.
An example; when appearing before the recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Office of the President Permanent Secretary, Thuso Ramodimoosi, looked reluctant to admit misuse of public funds. Although it is clear funds were misused, he looked unbothered when committee members grilled him over the P80 million Orapa House building that has since morphed into a white elephant for close to 10 successive years. To him, it seems it did not matter much and PAC members were worried for nothing.
On a separate day, another Accounting officer, Director of Public Service Management (DPSM), Naledi Mosalakatane, was not shy to reveal to PAC upon cross-examination that there exist more than 6 000 vacancies in government. Whatever reasons she gave as an excuse, they were not convincing and the committee looked sceptical too. She was faltering and seemed not to have a sense of urgency over the matter no matter how critical it is to the populace.
Botswana’s unemployment rate hoovers around 18 percent in a country where majority of the population is the youth, and the most affected by unemployment. It is still unclear why DPSM could underplay such a critical matter that may threaten the peace and stability of the country. Accounting Officers clearly appear out of touch with the reality out there – if the PAC examinations are anything to go by.
Ideally the DPSM Director could be dropping the vacancy post digits while sourcing funds and setting timelines for the spaces to be filled as a matter of urgency so that the citizens get employed to feed their families and get out of unemployment and poverty ravaging the country. The country should thank parliamentary committees such as PAC to expose these abnormalities and the behaviour of our leaders when in public office. How can a full Accounting Officer downplay the magnitude of the landless problem in Botswana and fail to come with direct solutions tailor made to provide Batswana with the land they desperately need?
Land is a life and death matter for some citizens, as we would know.
When Bonolo Khumotaka, the Accounting Officer in the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, whom as a top official probably with a lucrative pay too appears to be lacking sense of urgency as she is failing on her key mandate of working around the clock to award the citizens with land especially those who need it most like the marginalised. If government purports they need P94 billion to service land to address the land crisis what is plan B for government? Are we going to accept it the way it is?
Government should wake up from its slumber and intervene to avoid the 30 years unnecessary waiting period in State land and 13 years in Tribal land. Accounting Officers are custodians of government policy, they should ensure it is effective and serve its purpose. What we have been doing over the years, has proved that it is not effective, and clearly there is a need for change of direction.
His Excellency Dr Mokgweetsi EK Masisi, the President of the Republic of Botswana found it appropriate to invoke Section 17 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana, using the powers vested in him to declare a State of Public Emergency starting from the 2nd April 2020 at midnight.
The constitutional provision under Section 17 (2b) only provided that such a declaration could be up to a maximum of 21 days. His Excellency further invoked Section 93 (1) to convene an extra- ordinary meeting of Parliament to have the opportunity to consult members of parliament on measures that have been put in place to address the spread and transmission of the virus. At this meeting Members of Parliament passed a resolution on the legal instruments and regulations governing the period of the state of emergency, and extended its duration by six (6) months.
The passing of the State of Emergency is considered as a very crucial step in fighting the near apocalyptic potential of the Novel COVID-19 virus. One of the interesting initiatives that was developed and extended to the business community was a 3-month wage subsidy that came with a condition that no businesses would retrench for the duration of the State of Public Emergency. This has potentially saved many people’s jobs as most companies would have been extremely quick to reduce expenses by downsizing. Self-preservation as some would call it.
Most organisations would have tried to reduce costs by letting go of people, retreated and tried their best to live long enough to fight another day. In my view there is silver lining that we need to look at and consider. The fact that organisations are not allowed to retrench has forced certain companies to look at the people with a long-term view.
Most leaders have probably had to wonder how they are going to ensure that their people are resilient. Do they have team members who innovate and add value to the organisation during these testing times? Do they even have resilient people or are they just waiting for the inevitable end? Can they really train people and make them resilient? How can your team members be part of your recovery plan? What can they do to avoid losing the capabilities they need to operate meaningfully for the duration of the State of Public Emergency and beyond?
The above questions have forced companies to reimagine the future of work. The truth is that no organisation can operate to its full potential without resilient people. In the normal business cycle, new teams come on board; new business streams open, operations or production sites launch or close; new markets develop, and technology is introduced. All of this provides fresh opportunities – and risks.
The best analogy I have seen of people-focused resilience planning reframes employees as your organisation’s immune system, ready and prepared to anticipate risks and ensure they can tackle challenges, fend off illness and bounce back more quickly. So, how do you supercharge your organizational immune system to become resilient?
COVID-19 has helped many organisations realize they were not as prepared as they believed themselves to be. Now is the time to take stock and reset for the future. All the strategies and plans prior to COVID-19 arriving in Botswana need to be thrown out of the window and you need to develop a new plan today. There is no room for tweaking or reframing. Botswana has been disrupted and we need to accept and embrace the change. What we initially anticipated as a disease that would take a short term is turning out to be something we are going to have to live with for a much longer time. It is going to be a marathon and therefore businesses need to have a plan to complete this marathon.
Start planning. Planning for change can help reduce employee stress, anxiety, and overall fear, boosting the confidence of staff and stakeholders. Think about conducting and then regularly refreshing a strategic business impact analysis, look at your employee engagement scores, dig into your customer metrics and explore the way people work alongside your behaviours and culture. This research will help to identify what you really want to protect, the risks that you need to plan for and what you need to survive during disruption. Don’t forget to ask your team members for their input. In many cases they are closest to critical business areas and already have ideas to make processes and systems more robust.
Revisit your organisational purpose. Purpose, values and principles are powerful tools. By putting your organisation’s purpose and values front and center, you provide clear decision-making guidelines for yourself and your organisation. There are very tough and interesting decisions to make which have to be made fast; so having guiding principles on which the business believes in will help and assist all decision makers with sanity checking the choices that are in front of them. One noticeable characteristic of companies that adapt well during change is that they have a strong sense of identity. Leaders and employees have a shared sense of purpose and a common performance culture; they know what the company stands for beyond shareholder value and how to get things done right.
Revisit your purpose and values. Understand if they have been internalised and are proving useful. If so, find ways to increase their use. If not, adapt them as necessities, to help inspire and guide people while immunizing yourself against future disruption. Design your employee experience. The most resilient, adaptive and high performing companies are made up of people who know each other, like each other, and support each other.
Adaptability requires us to teach other, speak up and discuss problems, and have a collective sense of belonging. Listening to your team members is a powerful and disruptive thing to do. It has the potential to transform the way you manage your organisation. Enlisting employees to help shape employee experience, motivates better performance, increases employee retention and helps you spot issues and risks sooner. More importantly, it gives employees a voice so you can get active and constructive suggestions to make your business more robust by adopting an inclusive approach.
Leaders need to show they care. If you want to build resilience, you must build on a basis of trust. And this means leaders should listen, care, and respond. It’s time to build the entire business model around trust and empathy. Many of the employees will be working under extreme pressure due to the looming question around what will happen when companies have to retrench. As a leader of a company transparency and open communication are the most critical aspects that need to be illustrated.
Take your team member into confidence because if you do have to go through the dreaded excise of retrenchment you have to remember that those people the company retains will judge you based on the process you follow. If you illustrate that the business or organization has no regard for loyalty and commitment, they will never commit to the long-term plans of the organisation which will leave you worse off in the end. Its an absolutely delicate balance but it must all be done in good faith. Hopefully, your organization will avoid this!
This is the best time to revisit your identify and train your people to encourage qualities that build strong, empathetic leadership; self-awareness and control, communication, kindness and psychological safety. Resilience is the glue that binds functional silos and integrates partners, improves communications, helps you prepare, listen and understand. Most importantly, people-focused resilience helps individuals and teams to think collectively and with empathy – helping you respond and recover faster.
Article written by Thabo Majola, a brand communications expert with a wealth of experience in the field and is Managing Director of Incepta Communications.