Every company has its ups and downs. How your organization deals with those intermittent challenges is just as important as how it celebrates its victories, if not more so. Maybe your quarterly earnings have come in below expectations, or maybe a long-admired senior manager has decided to leave the firm. Maybe you’ve had to let someone go, or maybe the team isn’t reaching its potential. As a business leader, you need to relay the news to your team quickly – in a way that doesn’t have any additional repercussions, like hurting the company culture. But how do you do that?
Talk About It
It may sound simple, but it’s anything but. Clear and open communication doesn’t come naturally to many leaders. So, you have to be intentional about it. If you know something bad is going to happen (or already has), gather your team in a room as soon as possible to talk about the news. Opening up the conversation is the single most important step.
Be Transparent (Don’t Sugarcoat The Bad News)
It’s no use gathering your team to share news if you’re going to hold back information. When times are tough, trust is often the first thing to erode if people feel like they’re not being told the whole truth. Ensure that when you gather your team to talk, everything is on the table – no secrets. Bad news is bad news; there’s no sense trying to spin it positive. You have to be genuine.
Hear From Everybody
The opinion of a senior vice president should have no more weight than that of your front-desk receptionist. If you want a real team atmosphere, you have to be willing to hear everyone’s voice and address any questions or concerns. This will go a long way toward reinforcing that “we’re all in this together” feeling and the fact that you’re open to differing opinions. Whether or not you can answer every question or address every issue isn’t important, but listening to each person is crucial.
Determine A Path Forward
It’s not enough to get things out on the table. You have to be able to move forward in a deliberate way. Once everyone has been heard, make a plan for how things are going to proceed. Maybe you develop a way for each team member to contribute to bringing in new business or recruiting top performers. Whether the task is small or large, be sure you make a plan to address any underlying problems that may have caused the issue in the first place. Get buy-in from your team and get to work.
About the Author: As the founder of Petra Coach, Andy Bailey can cut through organizational B.S. faster than a hot knife through butter, showing organizations, the logjams thwarting their success, and coaching them past the excuses we all use to avoid doing what needs to be done. Andy learned how to build great organizations by building a great business, which he started in college. It then grew into an Inc. 500 multimillion-dollar national company that he successfully sold and exited.