At some point, all businesses will go through tough times. It’s the way of the world – you win some, you lose some. The key thing to remember is that having a tough period doesn’t define your company – it’s how you deal with it that is important.

During those tough times, one of the hardest things you will experience is a drop in employee morale. Uncertainty has a nasty habit of turning into fears, damaging motivation, and leading to far more serious problems. So, it’s important to nip it in the bud as quickly as you can.

But, the big question is: how do you keep morale up when things are going badly? We’re going to look at some of the things you can do to make sure your employees stick to the task at hand.

Strive to be positive

No matter how hard things might be, it’s down to you as the boss to keep chirpy about your future. If you are complaining about your lack of sales, or the trouble the economy is in, how do you think your employees will react?

You don’t have to show blind enthusiasm, of course. But you should think about how you come across because your employees will take all their cues from your behavior. Which brings us to our next point: honesty.

Related: 10 Super Effective Ways to Motivate Your Employees

Be honest

Being positive does not mean hiding your employees from the truth. And, in some ways, it can be even worse if you’re ignoring what is happening. Be up front and honest, but also be clear about how you will improve things and stick by your staff as much as possible.

Talk to them about making improvements, and ask their advice on how to make things more efficient. If they are involved in the process, they will feel like they have some control over the situation.

Be part of the team

Don’t lock yourself in the office and hide when times are tough. It’s at times like these when your leadership skills will be tested to breaking point, and it’s important you pass that test. As Per Wickstrom notes in a recent interview, employees like to know that their boss is part of the team and in the trenches with them.

If you don’t seem to care, they will lose faith in your ability to lead them out of the fix. Your problems will be far worse when employees start to hand in resignation letters.

Open your door

It’s so important for bosses to have an open door policy, especially when times are tough. Your staff will have concerns and worries, and the only person that can answer them is you. If you don’t appear to listen to them, it will seem like you don’t care – which is going to cause further issues.

Reward loyalty

At some point, things will get better. And, when they do, you should recognize the part your employees played in getting through the painful period. Rewards are a great way of showing your appreciation, whether that is a bonus, a gift, or some extra time off work. Say thank you, and your employees will be more likely to stick around the next time things aren’t going well.