When you have news of change, how you deliver it is extremely important. Delivering what could be seen as bad news requires more consideration than g
When you have news of change, how you deliver it is extremely important. Delivering what could be seen as bad news requires more consideration than good. However, any change can be unsettling no matter good or bad, and requires careful consideration as to how you share it, as reactions can vary widely from one person to the next.
Know your audience
One thing is certain; you will get different reactions to the same news, differing levels of understanding and this makes it important to give those hearing the news a chance to digest and react to what they hear. Their reactions will depend on their ability to cope with change and to how personally they feel affected by the news. Understanding that other factors may affect an individual’s reaction and having a clear support plan in place as the news settles and ensuring that staff are told clearly, what will happen next, where they can seek answers and support as the process unfolds is also an important part of delivering change news. Be mindful even good news can make some wary!
Employee trust is critical throughout a change process, the time to build trust starts from the very beginning of your relationship with the workforce. Start early!
Inform your communicators
Consider whether to deliver news through management levels and ensure that those tasked with delivering news have as many answers to questions as possible. Leadership development training focussing on the human aspect of change can help that you and your communicators to understand the potential reactions that those affected may have and assist you in delivering change news in the most effective way.
If giving information as a group, have consideration for the likely different reactions you may face. Consider whether you may be better to deliver some change information to individuals and avoid the opportunity for a herd reaction to develop. Whichever means to deliver the news you choose, remember how you felt when you heard and prepare thoroughly.
If you’re delivering what you know will be bd news, show empathy and be honest. No one likes to receive bad news, but giving false hope will make matters worse. Allow time to process the information given and give honest answers to questions asked. Always give reasons for your decisions and offer to speak again, when news has settled, be careful not to turn empathy into sympathy and give unwanted advice. Being a compassionate communicator is an asset for anyone who needs to communicate change. When facing a period of change, considering a refresh of communication skills training may assist handling of difficult conversations.
If it’s positive news that things are changing, it is important again not to over deliver and be open and honest. Even good news may have sceptics a little worried. Be clear with your message and ensure both impact and resolutions are offered in a personalised way. Ensure that employees understand which specifics apply to them, and what support is available to those who may need it.
When not everyone is impacted in the same way
Above all, when delivering news of change, you should do so in a way that assumption and speculation is discouraged. The company changes may be good for some and not others, so be prepared for a variety of reactions. No matter which side of the news an individual falls on, they will be affected by the reactions of the impact on others.