A change in business hours, layoffs, a reduction in benefits, a department reorganization, an elimination of bonuses, elimination of casual Fridays: Change in business is as relentless as it is inevitable.
While the rationale for such changes may be for the good of the company, sometimes these decisions are unpopular with your employees. And even if you disagree with the changes yourself, often, these decisions aren’t solely up to you.
So, you’re left with a daunting task: Communicating a decision to your employees that you don’t personally agree with.
How do you communicate a decision to your team when you disagree with it? As a part of management you don’t want to undermine the rest of your leadership team by openly criticizing their decision. At the same time, you must be honest with your employees in order to maintain their loyalty and respect.
It’s a tough task, so here are nine steps to communicating business decisionsyou don’t agree with.
1. Prepare yourself
Decide the best time and setting to deliver the news. Do you want to sit behind a desk to convey authority or side-by-side with employees to telegraph ease?
Get with another manager to discuss the questions you’ll expect to receive from employees. Rehearse your answers, being careful to eliminate judgmental or critical words from your responses. If you’re starting your discussion with, “You guys will never believe this…” try again.
Prepare any paperwork you’ll need to hand out, such as a new organizational chart or benefits handbooks.
2. Maintain respect
Always talk about upper management or the board of directors with respect. For example, you may say something like, “I know this was a difficult decision for them. Several options were discussed over many weeks and they decided this was best for the longevity of the company.”
If your employees already know you disagree, it’s okay to say, “This isn’t the choice I would have made, but let’s try to implement this change to the best of our abilities. We can always suggest adjustments that will make this work better than we think right now.”
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