• Jay Sharpe

Effective Communications in Challenging Times

What a strange and challenging time it has been for many people. We see people responding flexibly and responsively whilst also managing to find solutions to challenging scenarios. We have moved relatively painlessly to online meetings, working from home, and made other adjustments to our working arrangements. As the restrictions are being relaxed, business leaders and managers are faced with how to transition back, in what are often interim arrangements.

In our work, we are often talking to managers about the need for effective communication. Seasoned leaders will tell you that you need to make a plan for how to communicate with people and then exponentially increase it. In times of rapid change and uncertainty, communication becomes even more important. As George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest communication problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”. Here are some communications tips to use in your disrupted work environment:

  • Stay in touch with your people. Whether they are working from home, on temporary stand-down, reduced hours, they want to feel like someone cares. Connections are critical in times of fear and uncertainty. This might be through your social media channels, regular zoom meetings, emails, text messages and phone calls or all of the above. If you have a very large workforce, you can share around the contact between managers to ensure everyone has some personal contact regularly.

  • Let your people know what is happening in your business. While you may not know everything, you can give people updates about any good news stories, high-fives for people doing a good job or supporting others, or changes that are occurring.

  • Involve them through consultation, feedback or directly in planning or problem-solving. Some of your staff will have great ideas about how to be on the front foot with your business.

Good communication reduces people’s stress, makes people feel valued and keeps them connected and feeling like they belong. Leaders and managers can sometimes forget how much people want to hear from them. Making an effort now will increase engagement and reduce the pain of the transition as everyone gradually moves back to more ‘normal’ work arrangements.

Contact us if you would like training or a customised workshop to improve the communications within your team.

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