TMCnet Feature
March 30, 2021

3 Tips For CEOs for Effective Communication

If you’re an associate, working for a manager in any industry, the work you do is a reflection of your work ethic, and your managers direction and training. If and when something goes wrong, the person that has to take ownership and speak for that, to the CEO, is the manager. A CEO is essentially this to the company, and to the public. They have to answer for any mess-ups, misgivings or negative outcomes. They are the source of home and positive energy for catastrophic business situations like COVID-19. Think about the tough questions you have to answer not only in your professional life, but in your personal life; Do I have enough income to support myself and my partner, and what am I going to do about that? How do I get a copy of my birth certificate if I’ve lost or damaged it? THink about questions like this on a broader, global scale--that’s what CEOs have to answer. They have to answer tough questions from the public, their employees, other world leaders, as well their board members and shareholders. For CEOs, Executives, and aspiring leaders alike, these are 3 effective “war-time” strategies to ensure that your company is set up for recovery and prosperity after slumps or tough events.

1. Transparency and honesty

This one might be overstated and go without saying, but you’d be surprised by how rare it is. It’s easy to expect a CEO or manager to go through a scripted version of what to say. There are many coaches, scripts and tips about how to go about the wording of a speech addressing key issues, but it’s far more revealing and refreshing to witness a CEO be upfront, yet optimistic about the reality of a company’s business situation. A transparent CEO doesn’t sugarcoat their employees. They don’t sweep things under the rug and they leave the floor open for others to express their concerns. A restrictive environment where other employees feel stifled doesn't benefit them. A key example is Arne Sorensen, CEO of Marriott, who admits that COVID-19 has a greater economic impact on the company than “9/11 and the financial crisis combined.” He then commits to not taking a salary and cutting his executive team by 50%. A CEO that isn’t afraid to show vulnerability demonstrates their human, approachable side, the side is honest of what leadership is actually like. There is academic research to support the idea that transparent communication in a company is highly correlated with “work-life enrichment,” with positive implications on organizational communication and positive employee outcomes. Be upfront with the state of affairs to the best of your ability and keep to your promises

2. Put your people first

As mentioned before by the Arne Sorenson example, employees outside onlookers can easily tell a CEO that is only out for his/her own self-interest and the interest of his colleagues in the C-Suite. Demonstrate your humanity by cutting costs down where it doesn’t hurt employees health and safety. If you want to build a culture of loyalty and longevity at the company, put people first. Your people make your company, so if you use them as a shield, you compromise your business, and you remove competitive advantages that your company has. A recent study showed that empathy and honesty towards employees in managerial and leadership communication were strongly associated with organizational trust, which then “positively influenced employee openness to change.”

3. Be optimistic

            Being transparent doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be dismal in your outlook. A good leader maintains a balance of honesty about present day outcomes, while remaining positive about future recovery. Even if your employees may feel hopeless, or uncertain and frustrated with how situations like COVID-19 affect business, part of your responsibility as a leader is to be the beacon of positive realism. If negative feelings arise, it affects employee morale, and this ultimately affects employee performance. A earnest and positive message of resilience inspires your employees to work harder to improve the company’s current situation by being adaptable and finding a way to pivot strategy to stay afloat, and then thrive among a new economy or global situation.

If you want to win the war--lead with honesty, positivity and confidence. Put your people first, and lift their spirits up by reminding them that a rough patch is a rough patch, and that it's temporary. This will not only pull your business to the finish line, but stand as an example of how authenticity and positive work culture impact overall business, and build loyalty and trust into your company.

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