Last month I wrote a blog post for Poppulo.com, entitled “How Leader’s Communication Influences Change Fatigue”. In the blog post, I shared how leaders can inadvertently create or make change fatigue worse through their communication.
Change fatigue is a problem and it can be hurting your change efforts. Left unchecked, change fatigue can lead to employee burnout. It can also make it more difficult to sustain changes you do implement.
How can leaders can use communication to reduce and prevent change fatigue. Here are some highlights from the post.
Recognize the purpose of communicating during change.
A lot of leaders believe they communicate to keep people informed and reduce anxiety. Important yes, but not the main purpose for communicating during change. Your primary purpose is to help change- recipients navigate their change process. This will lead to an almost automatic decrease in anxiety.
Without a big picture people will get tired.
Do each of your departments operate independently of each other? Probably not. Every time you announce a new change without explaining how it will affect the organization as a whole you run the risk of fatigue. Communicating individual change initiatives without an understanding of how they fit is like asking your employees to complete a puzzle when they only have the pieces and not the picture on the box.
Use the language of readiness.
Language is so powerful that a single word can change our perception and action. For example, we have one perception and emotion when we hear; he broke the vase and a different perception when we hear the vase broke.
Most leaders believe people resist change. This belief gets reflected in the language they use to describe and interpret people’s responses to change. When you shift your language from resistance to readiness, you change your thinking which changes your actions.
Communication is interactive.
Today communication has come to mean giving information. But that’s not communication. You haven’t communicated until the person you are sharing information interprets the meaning of the information or event. Instead of talking to people, try talking with them.
During change, especially when there are multiple and simultaneous changes occurring in your organization, you need conversation. Conversation is one of the most powerful (yet undervalued, and underused) tools in a leader’s toolkit.
Change fatigue is preventable.
Most organizations don’t have the luxury of enabling one change at a time. But that doesn’t have to mean change fatigue. You can enable multiple and simultaneous changes and prevent change fatigue.
With active communication and the willingness to take specific actions, you can enable multiple changes without change fatigue. Organizations that can do that have a competitive advantage.