Leading through change - communication

change communication Dec 08, 2020

Whether it’s Covid, digital transformation or the next unforeseen event on the horizon, I don’t need to tell you change is here to stay. How you lead impacts your employees’ reaction to change and indeed, their general wellbeing.

There are two crucial areas to help you be an effective change leader: communication and building resilience. I will cover communication in this article, and building resilience next month.

Effective communication in times of change:

  • focuses on the emotional side more than the rational
  • is authentic (not ‘government speak’)
  • is built on empathy with the recipient
  • uses the right techniques for the intended outcome

 Techniques you can use to reach the intended outcome.


  1. Stability

When people are going through a big upheaval, they often crave stability.

  • Hold regular face to face (even if virtually) meetings – daily if the situation warrants it. These are not meetings to monitor work; these are meetings to give reassurance that you’re there for them.
  • Be directive, with empathy – now is not the time to give them a variety of choices. They are already over-whelmed. Having empathy will ensure the directive you provide is well received.
  • Provide fact sheets – so they are really clear about what’s happening, and everyone is on the same page.


  1. Sense making

When change is unexpected people often scramble to make sense of it all.


  • Be transparent – give your employees as much information about the situation as you can and let them know when you simply don’t know
  • Allow space for two way communication so you can identify misunderstandings
  • Just in time communication – give them updates as soon as there is new information to hand


  1. Create more change

Why create more change during change?

As an example, you could leverage the forced change to remote collaboration to encourage further digital transformation.

  • Start group discussions, either in person or using a digital tool such as Yammer or Teams. As a leader you want to spend most of your time listening, not talking.
  • Be open and communicate the intent for more change
  • Highlight the benefits the individual will receive by continuing with the change

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