The only thing that will stop the chain of events that lead to adverse behavior and chaos is information. Clear direct statements delivered that are actionable with supporting data, known variables, and an acknowledgement of what is NOT known.
These three simple steps will help stem the tide of bad behavior in the workplace:
- As a leadership team, craft the facts into a concise (preferably one page) statement. Having the team do this together increases continuity of messaging. Language should be simple and honest. If something is NOT known, it should be recognized and communicated as a changing element. Have the team select one leader who will act as the point person for all communication. This may or may not be the CEO.
- Deliver the statement in multiple formats. Departmental roll out by department managers, email distribution, print materials, and internal press releases are all modalities of communication. Anticipate questions from individuals and collect, answer, and deliver a set of frequently asked questions to help people see how the information may or may not impact them personally.
- Stick to the statement. If it is possible, give actionable advice to team members telling them what they should be doing while they are waiting for next steps. When the facts change, the leadership team should again go to step one and repeat.
Next week we will frame up communication management strategies that act to create a culture of trust within organizations. Investments you make now in ongoing, clear, concise, and direct communication will put trust resources into place for when the possible bad news comes.