Guiding a team through change in the workplace can be challenging, with many people feeling uncertain of what their futures might hold. This post looks at three tips to help you communicate with your team.
Have an open dialogue
When leading change in the workplace, one of the first things to do is make time to talk to your team about the upcoming changes. Of course, this will look different depending on the type of changes – but as a general rule, one of the first things you should do is take the time to hold one-to-one or small group conversations.
Beginning with an open dialogue is important because it will help you demonstrate to your team that you value their input, opinions and possible suggestions. However, make sure that you are clear in setting expectations during these conversations. This is imperative as you are unlikely to be able to make everyone happy, and will not be able to implement all the suggestions your team brings to you.
Be open about why you cannot share details (yet)
If you find yourself in a position where details about an upcoming change cannot be shared, be as open as you can about that fact. It might seem counterintuitive, but doing this will help build trust between yourself and the people you are leading.
Naturally, there will be times when providing all the reasons why you are not able to share details is not sensible, practical and would just cause your team undue stress. In these cases, make an effort to find the details you can share, and provide your team with the answers and psychological safety they will need to move through the upcoming changes. However, make sure you avoid over-promising or giving the impression that certain decisions are final when that is not the case – this will only reflect badly on you later.
Set a time frame
Wherever possible, ensure your team knows when they can expect answers to their questions, and decisions to be shared. This will help alleviate their concern that they will suddenly be subjected to surprising news, and avoid the prospect of them wondering why a decision has either not been made or not shared yet.
If you do not know the timeline for decision sharing – for example the changes being contemplated may be large in scale and only considered by selected managers and leaders – make it clear to the decision makers that the uncertainty is causing unease or anxiety in the team you lead, and any new details would be appreciated.
Until next time,