Despite the best effort of their leader, communication still fails during times of crises due to four issues. Let’s discuss the pitfalls and possible solutions to these issues.
Too much information
Let’s admit it. We leaders sometimes get too excited or too caught up in explaining all the details to our teams that we forget about the condition of our audience.
However, stop and think for a moment. If you keep spewing out information you’ll be like a fire hydrant that’s just been opened and letting water gush out. Even if your team members are thirsty, they won’t be able to absorb water from a fire hydrant efficiently.
In this situation, less is more. You want to be succinct and clear on what steps people need to take.
Always remember who your audience is and what your message is.
For example, people are easily accessible these days, especially through email. However, you don’t want to constantly bombard your audience with emails. Remember that they will receive communication from other organisations as well.
So, you want to be strategic about when you communicate and what you communicate. Avoid adding too many links because these distract readers from the main points and may confuse or make them anxious.
Also, you want to communicate according to the audience. Your staff needs a different type of information than your customers or vendors.
Too little information
A telltale sign of this issue is when there are a lot of questions after a presentation.
Yes, sometimes there’s little information to share when we’re waiting for decisions to be made. In this case, it’s better to be transparent that you don’t know what you don’t know. However, it is better to communicate this than to assume that people.
For this issue, be strategic with your updates.
A crisis is not the time to consult or poll a lot of people.
Ben Horowitz identifies two types of leaders: peacetime leaders and wartime leaders. He talks about how we need different leadership styles depending on whether it’s business as usual or if it’s a time of crisis or rapid change.