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Breaking bad news to team

  

THE GUARDIAN

Delivering news about organisational change and redundancies is never easy. But how the process is managed can have a long-lasting impact on individuals and the organisation as a whole. Here are some tips for how best to talk to your team, sustain performance and keep staff motivated.


Clear communication strategy: Have a clear and consistent message based on the business rationale for change. In a difficult situation, you might feel under pressure to move away from the corporate line to sound less formal, but it’s crucial to stick to the leadership message as consistency is key.


Keep it simple: People need clarity and understanding about what the current situation is, how it affects them and what the next steps are. Be concise and stick to the facts — wordy and

complicated messages will only confuse

employees and create more upheaval.


Prepare and practice: If you’re giving a speech to your staff, prepare a script and practise delivering it. Take time to become confident and comfortable with the words — you need to understand the business concept and the

rationale behind the change. You also need to recognise that people respond differently to change, so prepare for various scenarios.


Listen: Developing listening skills is also crucial to demonstrate high levels of respect for the individuals affected by redundancy, as well as their colleagues still in the organisation.


Timing is critical: Let the people who are being made redundant know before the rest of the world. Make sure your internal and external communications are joined up. Employees won’t be happy if

they find out about job losses before you’ve taken time to talk to and

inform them.


Be compassionate: Look at the situation from the other person’s perspective and respect how difficult it might be for them, especially if they have been with the organisation for a number of years.


Be visible and supportive: A lot of managers deliver bad news and then shy away. But it’s important to keep your door open and make yourself available if people have questions and grievances. Listen to their concerns and don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t have an immediate answer.

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