What has a positive impact on communication, not only during a crisis?

What has a positive impact on communication, not only during a crisis?

May 27, 2024 IPI 0

For several weeks now, almost every manager has been facing the challenge of how to effectively manage during the pandemic and after its conclusion, when the economic situation has already undergone irreversible changes. What can I do when my colleagues and company clients are mostly focused on protecting themselves and their families from infection? How can I make complex decisions and communicate them in such a situation?

Communication during a crisis – shifting the focus point

Because the context of a crisis situation is completely different from the standard conditions in which an organization operates, typical crisis communication may be less effective. As A. Boin, S. Kuipers, and W. Overdijk point out, there is a clear difference between strategies and skills for “routine” communication versus crisis communication (Goidel and Miller, 2009). For example, what works to sell an insurance policy or promote a candidate may not necessarily work during a crisis (3). A crisis situation is characterized by much faster and unpredictable changes, as well as often conflicting information. In a crisis, a manager needs to communicate much more frequently and transparently with their team to explain the crisis, its consequences, establish actions that lead to minimizing the effects of the crisis, and specifically clarify “why, who, and when” should apply these actions.

An assertive attitude prevents falling into the drama triangle.

In a crisis situation, a manager may have conflicting information or insufficient information. Such a situation also causes stress and emotional burden, resulting in the manager being more susceptible to unwanted roles in the ‘Drama Triangle,’ such as the roles of ‘persecutor,’ ‘victim,’ or ‘rescuer.’ The ‘Drama Triangle’ is a universal cultural stereotype that can occur in anyone. Even a self-aware leader can unwittingly find themselves in its field and succumb to its influence, as described by J. Santorski and M. Matczak (4). Additionally, it functions as a mechanism for mutual blame and shifting of responsibility.

Anticipating the consequences of decisions made

In crisis situations, managers often delay making complex decisions, gaining additional ‘time’ for their reaction. However, in a crisis, it is essential to make decisions quickly and frequently under time pressure. The issue is not just making decisions but also considering the consequences that the manager may not want to face or fears. When a manager makes a choice, regardless of the prevailing conditions, they need to first anticipate the consequences of their actions. Therefore, it is helpful to ask Cartesian questions such as: What will happen if I do this? What won’t happen if I do this? What will happen if I don’t do this? What won’t happen if I don’t do this? These questions help clarify the potential outcomes of the decision taken or not taken.

Author Anna Modrzewska

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