All Hands On Deck – How to Make Front Line Managers Your Internal Communication Partner

Corporate Strategy and Leadership Internal Communications Strategy and Tactics Managing Change

Now more than ever, Job #1 for managers is to help people do their very best work while making sure employees are safe and healthy.  As companies look to the post-COVID-19 future, they will need managers to play a key role in internal communications, making sure employees are informed, involved, and inspired. It’s a time when only an “All Hands on Deck” approach (where everyone works together), will help people feel safe and supported so they can adapt, innovate, and contribute to success in the post-lockdown economy.

 

The most critical skill managers need to deliver on this important task the ability to communicate. I’m not talking about sending more emails to fill up already overstuffed inboxes or holding another meeting where no one speaks up. I am talking about communicating effectively and strategically while building psychological safety and encouraging a deeper understanding and connection.

 

Barriers to Communication

There are really two roadblocks managers face that make it difficult for them to support internal communications efforts and become rock star communicators in the process.

The first barrier is the simple fact that managers simply do not understand the principles behind effective and strategic communication. They almost always start out as individual contributors and then they move up the corporate ladder to a management position without any kind of training that gives them the understanding they need to connect with their people in a way that is modern, meaningful and helps them do their very best work.

The second barrier is the universal truth that managers are always busy and pulled in many different directions. With COVID-19, this job has become even more difficult as managers navigate the challenge of leading remote employees and the many other challenges the pandemic has brought to our workplaces (mental health issues, health and safety concerns, etc.).

 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
– George Bernard Shaw

 

 

Setting Managers Up for Internal Communications Success

I am a big believer in the power of understanding. Luckily for leaders, internal communication isn’t rocket science. With just enough knowledge to be dangerous and some tools, templates, and support, you can turn managers into internal communication partners.

We’ve developed a simple approach that has these benefits:

  1. Makes it easy for managers to support their teams with key information
  2. Turns news into knowledge people can use
  3. Strengthens alignment across the organization
  4. Builds in accountability and a learning loop
  5. Turns managers into leaders

 

Solutions to Make Your Managers Internal Communications Rock Stars

We believe so strongly in the importance of making sure managers and leaders are an integral part of your internal communications team that we have developed a range of services and solutions to support the ability of managers to communicate effectively. These solutions don’t cost a fortune, are easy to implement, and will establish the foundation for more effective internal communication throughout your organization.

Workshops, boot camps, and coaching: while strategic internal communications may seem easy and obvious to me, for a finance professional or an engineering project leader it’s simply something they have not learned. We’ll spend an hour, a day, or a month helping your managers learn the principles of effective communication using a hands-on, integrated learning approach. All of the training can be delivered virtually.

Custom-built communications strategies: we develop communication strategies just for leaders. These strategies define specific outcomes related to culture, brand, and strategy and give leaders a roadmap for reaching these goals. We customize these strategies to fit a leader’s strengths and personality so that communication is authentic.

Tools and tactics: we design and develop internal communication channels and materials for your management team. Some of the solutions we have provided include a meeting-in-a box that provides a step-by-step guide for managers to share information in a way that promotes understanding. It’s essential a template for developing memorable and meaningful content, and a list of the right questions to ask so that you will get feedback, instead of hearing crickets. It can be designed for various platforms including Microsoft Teams, various apps, or just good, old-fashioned Word documents. We also help organizations determine what types of events and other channels should be used by managers and leaders to help managers reach employees and help employees to reach their managers.

Leave No One Behind

As organizations cautiously start reopening and adjusting to the new normal, making sure managers are equipped to communicate effectively is critical. This ensures that every employee has the knowledge and understanding they need to do their very best work. Our approach is a straightforward and effective way to achieve this.

The art of communication is the language of leadership.
James Humes

Job Love

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