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Lead Your Team Managing

Making Changes? Make Sure You Communicate First

Making Changes? Make Sure You Communicate First
Credit: Doc Stock Media/Shutterstock

Whether it's switching business models or reorganizing department structures, changes in your business are inevitable.

Making those changes, however, is typically easier said than done. Nearly half of business mangers said transition efforts typically falter at the execution stage, a study from Robert Half Management Resources showed.

The key to avoiding these problems is proper communication. The study found that 65 percent of managers say clear and frequent communication is the most important aspect of leading a team through a transition.

Managing expectations, outlining goals and delegating effectively were the other facets deemed most critical in leading employees through change.

While change is never easy for a company, it's even harder for employees, said Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. [What Stresses Your Employees Out Most? Change ]

"People naturally worry what a transition will mean for them," Hird said in a statement. "To prevent rumors, resentment and stress, managers must quickly and continuously update staff, not just on the nuts and bolts of the change but also on how team members will be expected to contribute and, ultimately, benefit from it."

To help managers lead their employees through times of transition, Robert Half Management Resources offers several do's and don’ts:

Do

  • Communicate early.
  • Consider the volume of communication.
  • Manage expectations.
  • Bring in project professionals for specific expertise and to reduce the burden on staff.
  • Communicate the benefits for your team of the change.
  • Recognize that implementation is only the start; the new process is the beginning of your company's future and requires ongoing communication and training for employees.
  • Celebrate success, and reward those involved.

Don't

  • Leave employees out of the loop and let rumors spread.
  • Share limited information or, conversely, overwhelm people with irrelevant details.
  • Sugarcoat issues or set unrealistic goals and time lines.
  • Forget that the success of your business — and every initiative supporting it — depends on your employees.
  • Stop communicating after the change is implemented.
  • Fail to acknowledge staff contributions.

The study was based on telephone interviews with more than 300 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in the United States.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.