Change breeds cynicism, right? It could. But it depends on how you communicate the upheaval to your team.
If you reveal the CEO's latest "brainstorm" while rolling your eyes, your staff will adopt a dismissive attitude as well. You can also bet they'll wonder, "Does this affect me?"
Convey change by emphasizing three themes: the reforms complement the organizational vision, you understand that the situation may prove disruptive during the transition and you welcome everyone's involvement going forward.
Regardless of whether employees buy into the change, your job is to show empathy and express enthusiasm for the projected long-term benefits. Even if you're frustrated with yet another U-turn that your employer is taking, keep your annoyance to yourself.
Portray the change process as a challenge that also affords opportunity to those who step up and contribute. Explain its rationale (and how it advances critical organizational goals) and identify possible ways that employees will be affected.
It's fine to admit that you don't know whether the reorganization will lead to layoffs, relocations or other major moves. But let people know how their actions in the coming weeks and months can influence the outcome.
For example, you might put your employees on alert and say that those who offer constructive ideas, stay positive and demonstrate flexibility and patience can ultimately reap rewards. Express confidence that your crew will rise to the occasion, rather than snicker, "I know I'm asking the impossible."
Promise everyone that you will eliminate the element of surprise whenever possible. Resistors fear change, so relieve their uncertainty by updating them on unfolding developments. Unnecessarily withholding information fuels more resistance. At the same time, provide healthy outlets for people to vent.
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