It is not what you say. It is how you say it. You can use the same words in a sentence and make them mean something different by use of word emphasis with your voice.
These are stressful times. Businesses are opening again but find that getting people to come back is not as easy as they thought. Recently I met executives dealing with the many worries of bringing employees back. Some can’t wait, some are concerned about returning in person, some like the virtual. Management is finding that it is not that easy to craft a policy and convey a message that will resonate with all. People have mixed emotions and people have fear of the unknown. Management genuinely believes they are communicating with employees when it comes to matters that affect them. Unfortunately, they often underestimate the number of matters that includes.
As a team leader do you know with certainty what is important to the team and what to tell them? The only way to know is to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their position and mindset. Think to yourself, “If I were hearing this information what would I thinking right now given the current situation?” If you were that employee what would be important for you to know? What is the worst thing that could happen, and would you want to know about it in advance? How would you want to be told?
How would you be answering these questions? You need input from your team. Depending on how much you can discuss, or how much is already known, you might ask a few individuals what the grapevine is saying, and what people are worrying and wondering about.
After you receive this information craft a policy and communicate clear information giving answers to critical questions. Of course, they must be truthful answers, for insincerity is easily recognized and will deal a deathblow to your communication efforts. Then they must be couched in terms that are clear and uncompromising, but also considerate and compassionate. It's worth spending some time on this part. Lack of commitment to your message is also easily read and will automatically raise the cynicism level among employees.
You should carefully consider the media used to communicate your message. The way a person receives news can dramatically affect how he or she feels about it, so you need to choose the medium very carefully. E-mail can be perceived as cold and unfeeling in many cases, although it is useful for routine updates that don't have emotional overtones. Some messages are better spoken, either by managers to their groups or by the CEO to the whole organization.
If the messengers don't have highly developed communication skills, it's worth engaging services of people can coach them in the tools of two way communication. The message must remain honest, clear, and compassionate.
And above all, follow through on your commitments and promises. Nothing turns employees off more than empty words. Sincere, caring, ongoing communication can form the basis for building employee engagement when the present time of turmoil ends. For a similar post on our web site see MAKE SURE YOUR MESSAGE CREATES THE INTENDED RESULT.
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