This is the second part of a post on Communication, part of our series on the Five C’s of Change, which includes four friends and one foe of change. In the previous installments, we explored  Conviction and Courage.

As I discussed last time, we must meet both the needs of the organization and the needs of our followers. Below are some action steps to meet these needs.

Action Steps for Better Communication

I find clients appreciate specific action steps when they are uncertain of how to move forward in uncharted territory, so I am including a few suggestions below. Some of these may seem obvious to you but aren’t always obvious to others, so consider sharing them when you see people struggling with a particular area. We are all designed uniquely and will be inclined to do some of these well while others don’t come naturally to us.

To show compassion:

  • View the followers as Christ sees them, really seeing them and their concerns and why they might feel that way.
  • Routinely ask how they are doing and feeling about the change.
  • Even if you don’t agree, show them you hear what they are saying: “That sounds really hard for you.”
  • When you text them to check in, make sure you reply to their response.
  • Fight the reflex to explain, as it almost always sounds defensive. Save that for another conversation.

To build trust:

  • Be authentic and vulnerable.
  • Share as much as you can.
  • Be truthful. If you can’t share something, just say that.
  • Keep things confidential.
  • Assume good intent and let them know your intent.
  • Align your walk with your talk (and make sure you follow through on commitments).

To create stability:

  • Create line of sight — connecting the importance of what they do to the organization’s mission.
  • Be clear when setting expectations, as aiming for a target in the dark feels unstable. Go beyond simply telling them what to do and explain how they will know if they are successful.
  • Obtain the resources needed to do the job successfully (e.g., training, software, team members, funding).
  • Share with them personal and organizational successes.
  • Delegate work so they are using their strengths every day.

To speak into hope:

  • Share the vision for the broader organization and your team.
  • Connect what they do with the vision — show where you see them and their role contributing long term.
  • Point out progress they are making in their development.
  • Praise their accomplishments by being specific and timely with recognition.
  • Share how the team contributes to making a meaningful difference for others.

These are just some of the simple actions you can take to meet the needs of your followers when it comes to communication. They will appreciate you for it and will be that much more committed to the organization. And by consistently communicating in a way that meets their needs, you now have created an opening for them to care more about meeting the needs of the organization.

Stay tuned for the final friend of change – Consistency.

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    Loriana Sekarski is founder and president of BONSAI, a consulting company that transforms leaders (and businesses) into the best version of themselves. As a leadership coach, Loriana teaches leaders how to hone soft skills, spur workplace engagement, and achieve untapped levels of potential. Outside of BONSAI, Loriana serves as an adjunct professor at Washington University’s graduate student program. Additionally, she's fine-tuning her passion project, TakeFlight, a division of BONSAI that launches organizations, churches, and marriages to boldly live out their purpose by leveraging their strengths to achieve their God-given destiny. TakeFlight has just developed Revealing Hidden Shackles, an innovative curriculum that examines domestic violence within the Christian community.