Executive Coaching Articles

Improve Communication When Times Are Bad

Even though there are many articles on leadership communication, this one discusses the six tips on how to improve communication when times are bad.

They say any sailor can navigate on calm seas. It’s when the waves are the roughest, when the boat is in peril, that a captain’s skills are truly tested. The same is true with business leaders.

The longer any recession or economic downturn continues, the greater the need for leaders to be engaged and to find new and better ways to communicate with their employees. When navigating their companies through difficult economic times, smart executives are placing a priority on communicating with their customers, employees and shareowners. Employee communication is a two-way street. Don’t just talk—ask questions and listen to the answers. Start with an employee retention survey. Find out who’s thinking of leaving and why. Find out who wants to stay and what will motivate them to do that.

Being proactive not only will earn the trust and confidence of these key audiences, it will pay off on the bottom line, too.

A recent study found that companies that communicated effectively over the past five years achieved a 47 percent higher total return than those companies that didn’t. According to Rosalind Watson, a communication consultant with Towers Watson, if you invested $100 in a company that emphasized communication, your nest egg would now be worth $130. Meanwhile, your stock in a poor communicating company would be worth just $83.

That’s a pretty hefty return on investment, considering it costs very little to provide open, honest, timely communication. So what are some ways to communicate effectively when times are bad? Articles on leadership communication, like this one, show what leading edge executives are doing to communicate when times are bad.

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  1. Provide a candid assessment of the current situation. Give an honest status report on the overall health of the organization. Outline the major problems or challenges.
  2. Focus on the steps you are taking to overcome these challenges. Most employees want to know why the management is doing the things they are doing; so, the more informed employees are, the less worried they become.
  3. Communicate as much as is necessary so employees feel informed. You want your team to be informed. You want them to feel comfortable coming to you during this time, so it’s important for you to encourage communication about the recession and how it is affecting them.
  4. Appreciate the effort and hard work your employees are doing daily. Your employees need to know you care, that you appreciate their work and understand their concerns. The more appreciation they feel, the more inspired they can be in the work they do. Make sure you appreciate people one-on-one so it’s customized specifically to that person.
  5. Provide them with hope. Discuss why this year should be better than last year, even though it may still be a difficult year for the company. Although the company’s recovery may be slow, progress is being made in the recovery process—and that’s positive news!
  6. Use as many communication channels as possible. As leaders, your focus should be on face-to-face communication. Get out of the corner office. Make the human connection, look employees in the eye, and answer their questions. In other words, be there for them. As former Secretary of State and Army General Colin Powell once said, “The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”

Difficult times call for difficult conversations. As you peruse these articles on leadership communication, you can gain valuable insight on how to lead your employees confidently through difficult times. For one-on-one advice from the country’s leading career coach, contact Garfinkle Executive Coaching. Our executive consulting service provides custom coaching that is tailored to you and your business.

Call 510-339-3201 to stop relying on articles on leadership communication and get the personalized advice you need to make your company better today!