[November 17, 2013] Training leaders in the basic principles of leadership always includes the subject of good communication techniques and the challenges associated with this topic. Probably the most important aspect of communication that any leader can do is to explain why big decisions are made.
This simple articulation of the leader’s decision logic helps prevent employees, and others associated with the organization, from assuming the worst or being insulted that they were neither informed nor consulted. Leaders should make the explanation in person, whenever possible.
Even when the logic itself is evident, leaders must explain at least the important decisions. At a minimum, the explanation should include:
- Why the decision was made.
- What choices were possible.
- What the logic was in the final decision.
- … and in special circumstances, an explanation of why the decision is moral, legal, and ethical.
Too many leaders assume employees and others (customers, bosses, peers, etc.) use the same logic processes they do. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the explanation may not be what people want to hear, at least they are shown the respect of an explanation.
Explaining the big decisions, particularly difficult decisions, to those associated with the organization is vital.
Time spent providing valuable information to this audience will greatly increase leader credibility and employee morale. It can also increase employee perceptions of fairness and help offset negative consequences.