Newmeasures: Insights for an exceptional workforce

Transparent Communication

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.”

What to Know

Communication from Senior Leadership is more than just the information shared directly from those at the top of the organization — people can easily attribute poor communication from their managers as lack of communication from the top. Be sure that all levels of leadership understand their role in communicating key messages, what information needs to be conveyed and a time frame for doing so.


Employees can handle bad news but struggle with no news. In the absence of information, we fill in the gaps with assumptions and stories. Proactive communication keeps the rumor mill at bay.
What Managers Can Do

Communicating the process that led to a decision is as important as conveying the decision itself. These details foster employee buy-in and understanding for what to expect next. Let employees in on Senior Leaders’ thinking so people can ask questions, feel in-the-know, and help anticipate challenges.

Be upfront with employees that while they may be raising a great idea, it’s just not possible to tackle everything at once. Help the employee understand how ideas are prioritized and responded to.

Pay attention to employees’ questions and frustrations around communication. Clear up rumors or misconceptions early. Commit to soliciting more information when you can and deliver on this promise by sharing current events, updates from Senior Leaders, or anticipated timing for more information.

What Employees Can Do

Assume best intentions. If you don’t know, ask.

Information is often available, we just have to know where to find it. Ask your manager where to find the best updated and current information. When information is not available, reach out and see if your manager has other details to share.

There may be a disconnect between what Senior Leaders communicate and what you would like to know. Understand that not all information can be shared exactly when we want it, but also let your manager know what specific information would be most helpful for your role. See if he/she can solicit this information. Or, let you know if the information isn’t yet available.

What Leadership Can Do

Be intentional about explaining the reasons behind the change. Ensure that other leaders are able to explain reasons to their staff.

Review communication practices. Are they consistent and transparent? Does information cascade to all levels of the organization? Use a variety of communication channels and repeat, repeat, repeat. Keep others informed about big picture goals and the plan for success.

100 calls, 100 days. The executives of one of our clients pledged to each call 100 employees in 100 days. Five-minute casual conversations to check in and see how things were going contributed to the employee feeling valued and leaders learned a tremendous amount about the organization.


The Power of Powerless Communication

Simply Said: Communicating Better at Work and Beyond by Jay Sullivan

Pitch, Tweet, or Engage on the Street: How to Practice Global Public Relations and Strategic Communication by Kara Alaimo