How to Train Teams to Communicate Change Effectively

by Danica Tiu

While change can be scary, it’s often inevitable. Oftentimes, just talking about change can send our bodies and minds into a “fight or flight” response. Whether we pick the former or the latter actually has a lot to do with how the change is presented to us. 

As L&D professionals, it’s your job to remind your people leaders of the influence they have over their teams and ensure they know the best way to deliver news in a way that inspires commitment, not panic.

Behaviors That Spark Resistance to Change

The behaviors that spark resistance come in many forms, but they tend to have one thing in common: they are power-based and command and control type behaviors. They could be micro-managing, using punishments as a way to encourage behavior change, not being transparent around change, praising others for their conformity, etc.  

Behaviors That Cause Compliance

When we are sparking compliance (rather than commitment) in others, we try to motivate others by using rules-based or process-driven arguments.

How to Drive Commitment

Here’s how your managers can ensure they appeal to each of these feelings when communicating change: Head – This represents facts and logic. Heart – managers to appeal to employee’s emotional side. Gut – Employees must see a manager as trustworthy in order to believe them.

You must encourage your managers to be transparent with information, focus on the facts, use a shared purpose to connect with others, focus on how a change will serve others, and align actions and words to build trust.