Is Your Communication Style Derailing Change Management?

Change is hard, but it can be worse if you've got personal conflict on top of the new business processes. See how your communication style can help -- or hurt -- your efforts.  
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Change is hard, but it can be worse if you’ve got personal conflict on top of the new business processes. See how your communication style can help — or hurt — your efforts.  

Change management is not as simple as merely working through technological challenges, it can go much deeper into the DNA of an organization. Leading change requires a great deal of mental fortitude to manage the near-constant challenges that will come at you from all directions, as well as a steady, stable personality and a deep well of calm. If your communication style is causing your audience stress, it’s going to be more difficult for them to listen to your message and come to the conclusions that you want them to entertain. Here’s what you need to keep in mind to keep your change management projects on track and moving fluidly.

Are Your Nonverbal Cues Giving You Away?

Even the most positive leaders can become frustrated and unhappy with the pace of change, but it’s vital that you are able to maintain a positive aspect at all times or you risk losing the confidence of teams. Making sure your verbal and nonverbal communication aligns helps build confidence in your message. The challenge is that you may not even realize the effect of specific actions, such as folding your arms or even frowning at an inopportune time. Your body language should indicate that you’re open, available and ready to listen so your audience feels comfortable engaging with you during difficult conversations.

Be Clear and Consistent With Your Message

Change can cause a great deal of anxiety for individuals but effective communication can alleviate some of their concerns. Communicate the benefits of the change openly and often, but don’t shy away from sharing some of the challenges as well. People do not like surprises, and when you’re able to tell people that there are some issues coming down the pike, they are more likely to be accepting. This is especially true if you show true compassion for the inconvenience and stress that is being caused to others as a result of your change initiative. People need to know that they’re being heard and that their needs are being kept in mind. Helping individuals understand how the change will impact their specific position and daily activities is the first step to getting teams on board with the benefits of your change ideas.

Define How Change Affects Individuals

Sure, you’ve done a great job sharing why the change benefits the organization, but how will it help each individual you need to convince to engage in forward motion? Taking the time to put yourself in the shoes of those individuals who will be impacted with the change takes a little extra effort, but it can help prove that you’re taking their needs into consideration. Be specific in your communication, as broad or sweeping generalizations can make it seem as though you’re not taking all of the possibilities into account when you’re creating an analysis of project success. Tie back individual goals and objectives to the larger needs of the organization so people can see themselves directly benefiting the organization.

When you have all of the technical skills in place, you don’t want your forward progress to be derailed by something as straightforward as clashing communication styles. Working through change can be a cultural phenomenon as much as an IT challenge and the professionals at CIO Advise can help provide you with the support that you need to keep your change management program moving forward. Contact us today at 833-CIO-ADVS or fill out our quick online form for a free initial consultation.


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