Effective Decision Making Includes Communication
What’s the most common mistake leaders make when communicating decisions? Not doing it. As the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw famously said, “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
One common reason for this is a concern for how people will react. To avoid that potential discomfort, I’ve seen leaders simply avoid communicating decisions. That leaves people in the dark or they find out in unintentional (and sometimes unproductive) ways.
As a leader, you can’t fear the possible consequences of being truthful. Sure, sometimes confidentiality comes into play. But there’s often a way to let your team know what may be in store without sharing beyond what’s appropriate. For example, your business may field inquiries each year from prospective acquirers. There is no need to disclose the full details of each offer as they arrive, but you could share that you routinely receive offers and at some point, acquisition may become a reality. This appropriate disclosure can help prime your team for what may come and save them from feelings of complete shock in the future.
When it does come time to share a decision, be thoughtful about how it is communicated. Include the what and the why of the decision. This will give people the framework needed to put the decision in context. Give them an idea of what to expect going forward and provide them some guidance in how it may impact their role.