By Stephanie Reynolds
Leaders often think they have to have all the answers when leading in times of change, and delay communicating. This is a colossal mistake because people will “fill in the blanks” with their own stories and beliefs and often these are not positive! We’ve seen employees lose faith, drift, get focused on the wrong things, worry, panic and ultimately spend time gossiping about what “might” happen.
Over communicating, until you are “blue in the face” is critical. Letting folks know you don’t know now, you have a way to find out, or how they can help you find out, make a huge difference. Keeping folks updated reduces the “rumor mill” and actually creates confidence.
The biggest factor for impacting real change in the environment, are direct manager comments. Direct managers have the greatest “touch points” with employees, and don’t realize they are the real shapers of behavior and culture.
There may be countless email updates, announcements, visions, plans etc.; coming from command central, but the real “in the moment” catching of behavior, commenting on it, and linking it to the larger purpose of the change is where the “rubber meets the road”.
As you see an employee doing something right or wrong in connection with the changes you want to see, don’t hesitate to notice verbally, reinforce the behavior or what new behavior would be better, and then link it to the bigger picture. As leaders, we think folks just have to hear it once and they “get” it. Actually, that could not be further from the truth, most employees will greatly appreciate and learn from your “connecting the dots”.