Change isn’t always easy, even when you are among the leaders promoting new strategies to improve your business. While in the midst of organizational change, leadership communication is essential. A lack of communication or, even worse, a lack of clear and effective signals from leadership, can not only disrupt the flow of daily operations but inhibit the change process. Here are some tips to improve your communication so your staff can team up, adapt and thrive as new changes take place.
Be Clear About the Changes You Want
Many leaders tend to be vague in talking to subordinates about strategic change, focusing too much on the expected outcome that change “should” bring. While this may be standard practice in introducing the change, workers want to know the details. Will the change affect them personally? Will there be layoffs? Will jobs shift? If leaders fail to clarify in detail the full extent of the change they are seeking, employees are left guessing. Some may feel insecure that their job may be at risk, while others may become less motivated and productive in an atmosphere of uncertainty. When your staff knows the details of their responsibilities and contributions necessary in putting forth the change, then the path to implementing the change is much easier.
Change Comes from the Top
The tone of an organization comes from the top down. The top brass of a company must be fully informed and on board with the change before introducing the plan to subordinates. Effective communication gives the new business strategies traction moving downward through the organization’s hierarchy. For example, if you’re initiating a change for improving customer experience, then this change needs to be included on the agenda of senior team meetings and board meetings and treated with the same importance that’s expected from middle management downward. The same goes if you are trying to implement specific business or marketing strategies.
For more information, Elsbeth Johnson, Ph.D., of the London Business School goes in depth about the importance of communicating through change in a recent Harvard Business Review article.