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  • Writer's pictureMeghan Kirkland

How do you Communicate Authentically in Tough Times?

Updated: Mar 12

Effective communication consistently comes up as a top skill for leaders, especially during times of uncertainty or challenge. In fact, research indicated that 3 out of 4 employees consider effective communication the most crucial leadership trait.

I personally feel this skill can be a tricky one. How do you communicate authentically, with a dose of optimism, but also acknowledging that times are challenging? At times it seems like a tall order when tensions are already running high!

Liz Fosslien's recent HBR article offers some great strategies for navigating communication in uncertain times.

Here are my top picks:

1. 𝗡𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 “𝗷𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗲𝘆” 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝘂𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀. When recognising your team's achievements, consider framing the story as a "modified belonging intervention" (read through the article for tips on this method). This approach helps individuals normalise obstacles and challenges a narrative that the path to success is always error-free.

2. 𝐁𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐬𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭, 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧. Avoid skipping the "non-update update." Even in times of uncertainty, honesty is essential to keep teams informed and engaged.

3. 𝐀𝐜𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐥𝐞𝐝𝐠𝐞 “𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝." This is something that I think many of us have faced- trying to strike a balance between recognising challenges but also maintaining optimism. Sharing emotions while providing a way forward can guide the team through difficult times. Reflecting on past obstacles and narrating how they were overcome can also offer learning and stability.

💡 What are your top strategies for communicating during uncertain times?

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