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3 ways leaders and employees can create clarity in uncertain times

Hand holding compass in the middle of a target

3 types of clarity and 3 actions leaders and communicators can take to promote clarity

More than half (53%) of workers in a recent Gallup poll said they were looking for jobs with more security than they currently have. Security comes from certainty. Certainty comes from clarity. Clarity comes from communication.

Headline after headline has ratcheted up uncertainty for all of us in early 2023 — from layoffs to global economics to UFOs! Your team definitely notices, even if they’re playing it cool. It is always a good time to be clear with teams about the future inside of your organization, but chaotic times mean that creating this clarity needs to top your to-do list. 

The 3 most important types of clarity to provide

  • Clarity of Purpose:

    Help the team understand why they’ve worked so hard until now, why challenges exist and why any potential changes will help improve things. Employees want a clearer picture of the future from their employer. They want to know where the business is heading and what their place in it is. They want reassurance of the business’ financial and reputational stability.

  • Clarity of Plan:

    Be transparent with the ways your organization will remain healthy—or make changes to get healthy. Share how employees can personally and directly help the organization thrive, if possible. Update the team frequently on how things are going with the plan, and then triple those planned updates. The more often a leader can be visible, the more a team feels like they won’t be caught off-guard if the plan changes.

  • Clarity of Responsibilities:

    Give the team a specific task that can help address an issue. If that’s not possible, be clear on expectations during unsettled times so that the team has a true north to look to when distractions pop up.

Sign post with 3 arrows pointing in different directions, reading: clarity precedes success

3 things leaders can do to create clarity for their employees

It seems simple, but a thoughtful approach for leaders to create clarity — in calm or crazy times — has three key parts:

1. Mindset: Think outcome, not problem-solving

Many times leaders and organizations see problems and then fix them. They see another problem and they fix that one, too. It’s a never-ending process of tension and relief as problems arise and get fixed. The hangup here is that it trains teams to look to leaders to point out trouble and then solutions, rather than teaching and coaching the entire team to think about the future and how they fit in. When team members know how they fit into the puzzle and can understand outcomes, they will feel more confident offering their expertise and ideas when things get hard.

2. Skillset: Practice strategic thinking, emotional intelligence and giving feedback and feedforward

Strategic thinking unifies everyone in their goals. Emotional intelligence keeps the conversation going, productively, when things change quickly. Giving feedback (and feedforward) helps the team understand what you expect and how they are doing.

3. Asset: Daily habits that establish the WHAT and the HOW 

Be an asset — or provide them. Define and share everyone’s goals and roles. Be transparent about norms. Seek input for each person’s individual roles and progress. Be present for your team in one-on-one meetings and share feedback and feedforward.

3 things communicators can do to provide clarity

  1. Increase the cadence of messaging from business leaders. Provide clear, transparent updates to build trust.
  2. Listen to specific concerns and take the time to deeply understand them.
  3. Tailor your messaging and plans to address those head-on, when possible.

At Pivot Strategies, we create clarity

At Pivot Strategies, we know that providing clarity – especially during big change – isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. Our clients depend on our leadership to help them drive change and clarify complex messages for their internal audiences. And our consultants have a proven track record of providing clients with clarity and the best strategies to help them succeed.

Looking for a strategic partner to help you create the best strategy to provide clarity on your internal communications? Contact us at Pivot to learn how our team can help you provide clarity in effective communications. Let’s connect.

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