Do you throw hand grenades?

Being in business has rarely been more difficult than it is at the moment.  The constantly changing regulations and guidance we are all having to take on board can be bewildering to say the least.

For those of us who employ staff this situation is even harder, as we have them to consider as well as ourselves and our businesses.  Staff and colleagues make or break businesses so keeping them informed and onboard is essential.

With the end of furlough provisions rapidly approaching, and the media headlining every job loss as it is announced, it is understandable that everyone is getting jittery.

There will be very few employees who haven’t seen massive changes to their work over the last few months and it seems unlikely that we are out of the woods yet.  Procedures have to be followed, decisions arrived at, and announcements made – but how to go about it all?

Every colleague or employee is an individual.  They have their own families, friends, commitments, lives to think about and, as far as possible these need to be considered when communicating with them.

I used to work in a business in a team of 10.  The Boss would decide something was going to change, walk into our room, make an announcement, and leave.  Quite frankly he might as well have opened the door and thrown in a hand grenade.

Everyone in the room was ‘injured’ to some extent.  The decision to change something was interpreted by 10 different people in 10 different ways, with 10 different reactions.

Some people welcome change, others see it as a threat.  Some people are confident in their position while others see everything as being directed at them.  Some people might welcome the chance of redundancy while others dread that possibility.

Of course, decisions need to be made and, particularly now, many are going to be unpleasant, with people getting hurt.  The boss who throws the hand grenade makes that hurt worse and shouldn’t be surprised if they get caught by a piece of shrapnel.

Blanket announcements might be considered as a way of putting everyone ‘on notice’ but they create fear and anxiety.  People who actually may not be affected by the decision will still suffer, as will team cohesion.  Often it isn’t what you say but how you say it that makes the difference, and I’m not even going to comment on blanket emails and texts etc!

I know it’s hard but please think first, and leave the grenade, with it’s pin in place, locked in the cupboard.

Ian Crosswell                          07857 307744