Communicating during Times of Change
“Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind.”
— F. Scott Fitzgerald
Clear communication is not easy. Everyone sees the world in a different way, and everyone has different feelings and opinions. Being a leader means ensuring that you are heard and understood in the way you intend.
When an organization goes through change, this can be very challenging. It is not uncommon for team members to feel out of the loop or confused by your decision to change the way your organization runs. So how do we ensure that we are thoughtful in our communication?
- Make your desired outcome clear. According to Harvard Business Review, this may be obvious, but many leaders end up discussing change in terms of tasks to do rather than why the change is happening. For example, if your organization’s vision is to provide more personal service, do not just say, “we are going to require more training for customer service.” Explain that these tasks are part of a larger mission.
- Be specific. The Association for Talent Development explains that employees need direction. What role do they play in the change? If employees do not have a clear idea of their role, they will more than likely stick to the way they have always done things.
- Give employees time and leave your door open. ATD explains that you should let the ideas settle in and remain and make it known that you are a resource for your team. Schedule “office hours” or Q&A sessions to build this into your schedule.
- Communicate everything you can. The Balance Careers explains that it is extremely important to give updates as they come. One tip they give is to tell your team that you are prioritizing timely communication, so some information may develop and change along the way.
- Reiterate the organization’s mission and how change fits into it. While you should always keep the mission at the forefront of what you do as an organization, it is especially important during change. Think through how this change contributes to the mission and make it abundantly clear that this is a necessary change to carry out the mission.
- Measure in the open. In the spirit of full transparency and inclusivity, The Balance Careers recommends giving frequent updates on progress. When your team is able to see how they are doing, they have a better sense of direction on what they need to do to help guide the change.
We all know how important communication is in personal relationships, friendships, and in the workplace. However, in day-to-day operations, it can be easy to allow it to slip from the top of your list. When you are going through changes, communication needs to be a top priority to help guide you to a new, better organization.