Making tough times harder by communicating too much!

Good communications is important to the health of the organization. However, there are moments when managers should look carefully at their communications and push on the “not-so-fast” button.

During periods of organizational stress, like changes in ownership, senior leadership, layoffs, mergers, and others, managers may think that they can calm down the troops by increasing the frequency and depth of their communications. Unfortunately, this may lead to a surprising result. Employees, like everyone else, pay attention to more than the message. Marshall McLuhan got this right.

During times of stress, the tendency of managers to increase the frequency of communication with staff in fact sends the message, “Gee, the bosses are nervous about what is going on. Look at how much they are talking about it.”

So, be careful. Focus on brevity and facts. Be as honest as you can about what is going on.

But, be a good model for your staff. During times of stress and turbulence, redouble your focus on customers and day-to-day tasks. Get in early and be at work when the staff arrives. They will get that message. No matter what happens, being productive is always a good strategy, both for the company and the individual.