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Turn lukewarm leader into hot ticket

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When execs talk more frequently and honestly with staff, says communications expert Debra Hamilton (www.businesslunchandlearn.com), employees can relax and do their jobs. When employees feel “in the know, they are more involved, committed and accountable.”

What does that have to do with you?

Top brass may be the ones crafting the vision, mission and company strategy, but you’re the one the rank-and-file come to when they want to know what the latest memo really means or what execs talk about behind closed doors.

And you’re the one putting together the office newsletter or gathering people for “Lunch ‘n’ Learns.” You hold the power to turn a lukewarm leader into a hot ticket.

Use one of these tactics:

Tackle big topics in your company newsletter. If you produce an internal newsletter, ask key execs if they’d mind being interviewed for a story. Then ask the right questions:

  • What are the company’s vision, mission and values?
  • How are we doing as a company?
  • Where are we going as a company?
  • What is changing?
  • How does that change impact employees?
  • What issues are important to this organization?
  • How can one employee make a difference?

Set the stage for face-to-face communication, especially if you notice a spike in workplace grumbling. You might suggest to your boss that a little face-time could help boost morale. Offer to set up a lunch forum or coffee talk during the workday.

Tip: Prepare your boss for the event by collecting some staff questions in advance.

Lean on technology tools. If your boss is more comfortable with technology, offer to create a template for regular e-mail briefings or posts for the electronic bulletin board. Such creative tools will keep communications flowing and employees from imagining the worst. “When employees are left in the dark, they put their own spin on events,” says Hamilton. “Their perceptions of events become threatening.”

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