This is Part III of “Leading through disruption”.
Clear communication is key in times of disruption. Clear communication is always important, but it becomes even more crucial in disruptive times.
Disruption can refer to various situations such as crises, technological advancements, organisational changes, or unexpected events that impact businesses and individuals. In such times, clear communication plays a vital role in minimising confusion, maintaining trust, and effectively navigating through challenges.
An effective leader’s role is to make sure you are keeping your team informed of what is happening and what is expected of them.
Leading through disruption requires building strong relationships and encouraging collaboration.
Effective leaders foster an environment where diverse perspectives are valued, and cross-functional teams can collaborate seamlessly. Open communication channels are established, ensuring transparent information flow, fostering trust and enabling collective problem-solving.
Importance of clear communication
Clear communication is of paramount importance during disruptive times. It enables organisations and individuals to navigate through uncertainties, build trust, manage expectations, facilitate adaptation, foster collaboration, and maintain strong relationships with stakeholders.
By prioritising clear communication, businesses and leaders can effectively address the challenges posed by disruptive times and emerge stronger on the other side. There are several reasons why clear communication is essential during disruptive times:
Providing information: Disruptive times often come with uncertainty and ambiguity. Clear communication helps provide accurate and timely information, keeping stakeholders informed about the situation, its implications, and any relevant updates. This helps reduce anxiety, rumours, and misinformation, enabling people to make informed decisions.
Building trust: Disruption can lead to increased skepticism and fear. By communicating transparently, organisations and leaders can build trust with their employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
When people feel included, well-informed, and supported, they are more likely to trust the organisation’s actions and navigate the disruption more effectively.
Managing expectations: Disruptive situations often require adjustments, whether it’s changing work processes, implementing new policies, or altering customer expectations. Clear communication helps manage these expectations by setting realistic goals, explaining the rationale behind decisions, and providing guidance on what is expected from individuals or teams. This reduces confusion, frustration, and resistance to change.
Facilitating adaptation: Disruption often demands adaptability and flexibility. Clear communication can help individuals understand the need for change and how it aligns with the overall objectives. It can also provide guidelines, resources, and support to help people adapt to new circumstances, whether it’s working remotely, adopting new technologies, or adjusting business strategies.
Fostering collaboration: During disruptive times, collaboration is crucial for problem-solving and innovation. Clear communication facilitates collaboration by ensuring everyone understands the shared goals, roles and responsibilities. It enables effective coordination, knowledge sharing and the exchange of ideas, thereby enhancing collective efforts to overcome challenges.
Managing stakeholder relationships: Disruption can impact various stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and investors. Clear communication helps maintain positive relationships by engaging with stakeholders, addressing their concerns, and involving them in the decision-making process whenever possible. This demonstrates empathy, reduces uncertainty and fosters a sense of unity and shared purpose.
How to communicate effectively
Communicating effectively during disruptive times requires careful planning and consideration. Here are some strategies to help you communicate in disruptive times:
Be transparent: Maintain transparency by sharing accurate and timely information about the disruption and its impact. Clearly communicate any changes, challenges, or risks involved. Avoid withholding information as it can lead to rumours and distrust.
Choose the right channels: Select communication channels that are most suitable for reaching your intended audience. Consider using a combination of methods such as email, video conferences, social media, intranet platforms, or even physical notices. Ensure that the chosen channels are accessible and effective for the recipients.
Tailor your message: Customise your communication to suit different stakeholders’ needs. Employees, customers, suppliers, and other parties may require specific information relevant to their roles and interests. Craft messages that address their concerns directly and provide actionable guidance.
Provide clarity: Use clear and concise language when communicating complex information. Break down complex concepts into easily understandable terms. Avoid jargon or technical language that may confuse or alienate recipients. Provide examples or visuals if necessary to enhance clarity.
Be empathetic: Show empathy and understanding towards those affected by the disruption.
Acknowledge the challenges they may be facing and offer support when possible. Address their concerns honestly and with compassion. This helps foster trust and builds stronger relationships.
Active listening: Communication is a two-way process. Encourage feedback, questions, and concerns from your audience. Actively listen to their input and respond promptly and sincerely. This demonstrates that their opinions are valued and encourages open dialogue.
Establish a communication cadence: Set up regular communication updates to keep everyone informed. Whether it’s daily briefings, weekly newsletters, or monthly town hall meetings, establish a consistent schedule to provide updates and maintain engagement.
Engage leadership: Encourage leaders to actively communicate during disruptive times. Their visible presence and engagement help instil confidence and provide a sense of direction. Leaders should be accessible, approachable, and ready to address concerns and answer questions.
Offer support: Provide resources, guidance, and support to those navigating the disruption. This can include training, remote work tools, mental health assistance, or any other relevant support systems.
Communicate the availability of such resources regularly.
Monitor communication effectiveness: Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of your communication efforts during disruptive times. Seek feedback from stakeholders and make necessary adjustments to improve clarity, address concerns, and enhance overall communication strategies. Remember, effective communication during disruptive times is an ongoing process. Adapt your approach as the situation evolves, and remain agile in responding to new challenges and information.
Arthur Marara is a corporate law attorney, keynote speaker, corporate and personal branding speaker commanding the stage with his delightful humour, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. He is a financial wellness expert and is passionate about addressing the issues of wellness, strategy and personal and professional development. Arthur is the author of “Toys for Adults” a thought provoking book on entrepreneurship, and “No one is Coming” a book that seeks to equip leaders to take charge. Send your feedback to [email protected] or Visit his website www.arthurmarara.com or contact him on WhatsApp: +263780055152 or call +263772467255.