Communicating at Work – When Management Makes a Big Change But Fails to Consult those Involved

Alas, miscommunication by management teams is alive and well.

I was reminded of this when meeting with a friend this week. He  shared with me his frustration at a significant change his company made without consulting those it affected.

How does this happen?!

This particular change will spread beyond a mere inconvenience for associates, it promises to challenge family members of these associates in perhaps devastating ways.

Management decided that this particular team was now going to alternate night and day shifts forcing associates to work two weeks on the day shift followed by two weeks on the night shift.

Brilliant.

Forget the fact that the detrimental effects of this kind of schedule have been well documented including loss of productivity and higher incidences of mistakes and accidents.

What shocks me most is the pure disrespect for team members. (And companies wonder why employees aren’t engaged….really?)

Let’s start with the obvious.

Previously, working the day shift was an earned incentive. My friend who had paid his dues working the night shift now lost the privilege he worked so hard for. (This should work well for motivation.)

Secondly, some team members had family situations where the husband and wife’s alternate schedule allowed one of them to be home with their children at all times. (Try working that situation out without notice.)

At least one associate had plans to attend classes…this new schedule will make that impossible. (Incentive to job search as I see it.)

I could go on but what’s the point…no one seems to be listening.

But, my friend shared this story. 

He had just read my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. He called me this morning to tell me exactly how he was going to rally his co-workers to back him and present his case to management.

He said, “you taught me how to do it in your book.”

Flattering. But more importantly, he told me he felt confident and assertive in his approach and no matter the outcome he felt empowered rather than hustled. (Management take note…he’s giving you more respect than you gave him.)

I applaud his stand and willingness to take the time to respond rather than react which had caused problems for him in the past.

He planned to take the time to write out his thoughts, speak with little emotion and present his case logically while still hoping his managers (or their higher-ups) had some sense of compassion (and dare I say, intelligence.)

I’m as a curious about the outcome as you might be so I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, share your thoughts below.

If you’re wondering how misunderstandings are impacting your team’s productivity and profits you might want to give me a call. If nothing else pick up a copy of Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work for yourself.

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