Posted by Sandy Yu on 4.26.2018
Employees aren’t confident you’re giving them the whole truth and nothing but the truth. A 2017 Kimble survey of 1,500 full-time U.S. employees found 46 percent of employees are not confident that the information from their employer regarding the overall health of the business is a fair representation of reality.
Chances are, you’re not intentionally lying to your team. So, where are communication efforts going wrong? Unfortunately, the root of the issue comes from how many leaders were taught to ‘spin’ their messages. The art of ‘spinning’ is often associated with PR or marketing, but the harmful tactic has found its way into internal communications.
What was once an effort to keep employee morale and confidence high, leaves employees feeling out of the loop -- and lied to. To understand the detrimental effects of ‘spinning’ internal communications, we spoke to Gini Dietrich, author of Spin Sucks and the Spin Sucks blog.
Put yourself in your employees’ shoes. If you found out leaders were lying to you, would you be willing to continue giving your all at work? Rather than getting caught in a web of lies, Dietrich suggests giving your team the opportunity to forgive you.
To boot, today everyone has a digital megaphone which allows them to present their distaste with an organization. If a leader is not honest, authentic, responsible, and open, that comes back. It comes back internally and externally. And it takes organizations -- and people -- down.
What I like most about ethical communications at all levels, however, is it allows us to recover more quickly when we screw up. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. If the mistake is communicated about honestly and openly, people are very forgiving. If, however, it's swept under the rug, it'll come back to bite you 100-fold. Do the right thing the first time around, and karma won't bite you.
Trust in leadership is a major retention factor. Honest communication between leadership and employees opens the door to cultivate that trust.
I remember a time when my own culture took a hit, and morale was at an all-time low. We had meeting after meeting after meeting to figure out what was going on, and no one was coming clean.
One day, I was standing at the printer, waiting for some financial information to print, and an email came across. It was written to one of our young professionals by one of our mid-managers. I have never, in my entire life, seen such harsh language and awful things in writing -- and it was to one of the people she supervised and was meant to mentor.
It was all I needed, and I fired her on the spot. The morale bounced back much more quickly than I anticipated. People want their leaders to be mind readers, to be decisive, and to take action.
Not being completely honest with your team limits your ability for deeper, more meaningful conversations. In turn, employees lose out on the opportunity to fully grow and reach their potential.
Effectively communicating with employees has nothing to do with generational divide in the workplace. An effective leader knows how to work with the strengths of each employee and how to work around their weaknesses. That has nothing to do with their age and everything to do with the fact that we are all individuals who work differently.
The best leaders know how to get the best out of their teams -- and that all comes down to effective communication. Sometimes, it means having the hard conversations and not avoiding conflict. Other times, it means going above and beyond to compliment someone on their work. When a leader can have all sorts of conversations and still get the best out of their employees, they will win.
How do you keep internal communications open and honest? Join the conversation on LinkedIn!