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Talk the truth

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

Talk Truth to Your Employees

I was recently listening to a podcast and perked up when I heard the following quote from a CEO:

“I got up in front of my company and told them everything would stay the same... Obviously, I knew that if we were about to make a change like selling our company, things would obviously change. You don't make a change like that without major shifts in the work place...Honestly, even thought I knew that, I didn't say that. I am not sure why."

This CEO was afraid. He was in the midst of a large acquisition and he knew things would change for his employees. He was afraid of communicating a message that would be received poorly. So, he avoided it all together.

Telling your employees the truth shouldn’t make you scared.

I see this time and time again. People either communicate the wrong message or avoid it all together because they are afraid. The key to handling the fear of communicating any message is to understanding your audience, to put Your Audience First. It is not enough to identify your audience – as many will argue. You must understand them.

What do they need?

What are they afraid of?

If you answer these questions before you communicate – you can build a message, which anticipates the reaction of your audience. You are no longer speaking in the dark. You are more prepared for their reaction and therefore are less afraid.

Likely, whether the CEO above had communicated his plans to sell or not, rumors began. Rumors led to gossip. Gossip led to speculation. Speculation led to fear. So, without even opening his mouth, his employee were already afraid for what was to come. And by stating that nothing was to change, this CEO perpetuated questions and fears within his employees. This weakens moral at a time when it was needed most!

What if this said CEO had spoken directly into his employees fear? What if he answered his employees questions before they had to ask?

Will people loose their jobs?

Why are you selling?

Is this a reflection on the work we have done?

How will my day to day job change?

When will we hear from you again?

Don’t have the answers to everything? That’s ok. Just say that.

Remember, honesty is key and goes a long way in building continued trust and support from your team.

So go ahead…Talk truth to your employees, face their fears and watch them disappear.


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