Do you think through challenges with your team or let them know what you’ve decided?

There’s a massive divide between asking an employee for their input and telling them what to do. In a transformation, clear and precise communication is essential. You can’t expect full participation and complete honesty from those involved in the change unless you provide them with the same. 

Before you start making changes with your leadership team, please sit down and communicate with them. Explain the reasons for the changes and explore together how the changes will affect each staff member individually. Why are you making these changes? What do you expect of them? How will they need to grow? Simply assuming everyone will agree with a new plan rarely works out well. Don’t implement anything until you are sure that your entire team is on board. 

On the flip side, an effective leader should be willing to make changes or allow changes to be made to their position if it is for the benefit of the business – even if this means position reassignments are required.

Sometimes a new position allows us to grow, and we should be open to that. However, everyone is more willing to participate when clear guidance is provided in advance. The key is to let your staff know what is before them before you start the transformation. Don’t surprise them! Rethinking what each team member needs to do is an essential ingredient in transforming your business. However, to truly unify your staff, you need to make sure they’re willing to change. Ironically, the essential communication skill is the ability to listen, not to talk. Now I realize that the target audience of this blog post is leaders who make their living communicating all of the time, so this may sound counterintuitive. But think about it. When do you learn the most: when you’re talking or listening?

By taking a few steps back from your perspective and listening to what other people are saying, you can broaden your understanding. Also, as the famous management guru, Peter Drucker, once said, “It’s essential to hear what someone isn’t saying.” By discerning what is not being said, you can understand not only what the person’s perspective is but also what informs it. 

Learning in tough situations takes not only excellent listening skills, but also the ability not to get upset if someone criticizes something about you, whether it’s your business, your programs, or your style. As we all know, complaints can be many, but you’ll never learn from them if you aren’t willing to hear them in the first place.