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Creating A "Got Your Back" Culture – Supporting Employees During Challenging Times

Written by: Adam Markel, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Adam Markel

In times of economic uncertainty, strong leadership and a supportive work environment are crucial to help employees navigate challenges and thrive. Building a "Got Your Back" culture, where leaders genuinely support and empower their teams, can make all the difference in maintaining morale, productivity and overall success. Luckily, for all of us in the leadership world day-in and day-out, there are practical strategies for creating a culture of trust, resilience and mutual benefit.

Excited colleagues making fist bump as symbol of strong team.

Transparent and compassionate communication

During challenging times, open and transparent communication is vital to fostering a "Got Your Back" culture. Leaders should prioritize honest and regular communication with their teams, providing updates, including challenges and potential impacts on employees. This transparency builds trust and ensures that employees feel included and informed.

Additionally, leaders must demonstrate compassion and empathy when communicating difficult news or changes by acknowledging the concerns and fears of employees and providing reassurance that their well-being is a top priority. By showing genuine care and understanding, leaders can create a supportive environment where employees feel valued and safe.

Encourage growth mindset and adaptability

In times of recession or economic uncertainty, it is essential to foster a growth mindset and encourage adaptability among employees. A "Got Your Back" culture promotes psychological safety and trust so that challenges can become opportunities for growth and development. Leaders should encourage their teams to embrace change, adapt to new circumstances, and view setbacks as learning experiences.

By fostering a growth mindset, leaders create an environment where employees feel supported in their personal and professional growth journeys. Leaders can provide resources for upskilling and professional development to help employees acquire new skills or enhance existing ones; and empower them to take ownership of their career growth and provide mentorship and coaching opportunities to facilitate their development.

Foster collaboration and mutual support

A strong sense of collaboration and mutual support is at the core of a "Got Your Back" culture. Leaders can encourage teamwork, cooperation and knowledge sharing among employees, and establish cross-functional projects or initiatives that promote collaboration and allow employees to leverage their diverse skills and expertise.

There’s an old expression that “your budget is a reflection of your values” and it is equally relevant to say that proper funding for training and development as well as team-building activities, in-person and virtually, to foster positive relationships among team members is essential in building and maintaining trust. Most often overlooked by managers is the need to encourage employees to celebrate each other's successes, provide recognition and appreciation and offer support during challenging times.

Lead by example

Leaders must walk the talk to create a "Got Your Back" culture. They do best by demonstrating integrity, transparency, and accountability in their actions and decisions; by being accessible and approachable, encouraging open communication and actively listening to employee concerns.

While it might seem risky, leaders that show vulnerability by sharing personal experiences and challenges, demonstrate that it is okay to seek support and ask for help. This vulnerability allows employees to feel comfortable, reaching out when they face difficulties or need assistance.

Creating a "Got Your Back" culture is not just about words; it requires consistent actions and a genuine commitment from leaders. By fostering open communication, encouraging a growth mindset, promoting collaboration and leading by example, leaders can create a supportive work environment where employees feel valued, empowered, and resilient, even in times of disruption. Investing in such a culture pays dividends in employee well-being, engagement, and overall organizational success.

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Adam Markel Brainz Magazine

Adam Markel, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Bestselling author, keynote speaker, workplace expert and resilience researcher Adam Markel inspires leaders to master the challenges of massive disruption in his new book, “Change Proof — Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience” (McGraw-Hill, Feb. 22, 2022). Adam is author of the 1 Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller, “Pivot: The Art & Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life.” Learn more at



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