Whether you decide to adopt a control-based or a trust-based approach to the leadership challenges posed by uncertainty, communication is at a real premium when your people are unsettled.
This is the time to be crystal clear with employees and communicate your message frequently and consistently. They need to understand what you want from them, what might happen to them and, above all, they must be convinced you are telling them the truth. Empowering middle leaders to inform their own people through a cascade system builds confidence if it is done well. Open letters to all employees are also a useful fall-back if you can’t get the message to everybody in person in a timely manner – our people deserve to hear it from us first, rather than from the media.
Then get out and about and speak to people in person. Walk the floors and let employees talk to you, and challenge you with their fears and concerns. Truthful answers are vital – no matter how grim the news, they will respect your honesty.
We all think we are communicating enough, but invariably we aren’t – all of us have an insatiable appetite for knowing, repeatedly, what is going on. In awkward times, we must sustain the trust and hope of those who will be critical to our collective success.
I hope you have enjoyed these articles on Leading in Uncertain Times and I welcome any feedback. Thank you for staying the course. If we can help you on any of these topics do please get in touch.