Ongoing economic woes mean that many business leaders are spending yet another year giving tough messages to employees.
Pay freezes or reductions, job losses and fewer opportunities for career progression are sadly still the order of the day for many businesses.
But despite the depressing regularity of this type of conversation, we must ensure we do not underestimate the importance of handling them sensitively.
Hearing a clear, direct message, delivered in person by another human being, continues to be the most effective way to deliver unpalatable news. It helps the recipient feel that they are respected as an individual, even when the content of the message is hard to take. It is even more effective if this message can be shared on a one-to-one basis.
The style in which the message is delivered is also important. While being overly sentimental is counter-productive, it is important to show that you care, recognising that what may be a sound strategic decision for the business has a real-life impact on an individual’s sense of self-esteem and confidence.
And avoid trying to paint a bright picture when there is no bright picture to paint. Sometimes clouds don’t have silver linings, and when they do that silver lining is not always apparent to the individual who has just been enveloped by the cloud.
[Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]