Navigating Leadership and Transparency During Tough Times: Insights from Jersey Recovery College Workshops

Recently, I had the privilege of participating in one of a series of workshops hosted by Jersey Recovery College, collaborating with public health officials to develop a mental health toolkit for organizations. One of the key topics discussed was leadership during difficulty or crisis situations.

During these discussions, it became evident that many leaders present, whether from organizations or the community, felt compelled to shoulder the burden and take responsibility in times of adversity. There was a prevailing sentiment that leaders should shield their staff from the challenges the organization faces, adopting a paternalistic approach that avoids alarming or worrying them.

While there’s merit in providing support and enabling staff to excel in their roles, this traditional divide between leaders and workers, bosses and staff, may not be entirely healthy. It’s crucial to recognize that we’re all in this together, especially during tough times. Transparency and open communication about challenges can foster a sense of unity and collective problem-solving.

In reality, employees often sense when something is amiss within an organization. If leadership remains silent, it leads to speculation, often resulting in more anxiety than the actual situation warrants. Therefore, honesty and openness about the challenges an organization faces are essential for maintaining trust and morale.

If the local economy grapples with difficulties, it’s imperative to be forthright with colleagues and clients about the situation. By acknowledging challenges and encouraging collaboration, we can work together to find feasible solutions. This collaborative spirit is reminiscent of the resilience shown by communities during crises such as COVID-19 and natural disasters.

In cultures that celebrate success, there’s often reluctance to admit when things aren’t going well, fearing it may tarnish the organization’s image. However, facing tough times isn’t synonymous with failure, especially when external factors contribute to economic challenges. Embracing transparency, engagement, and involvement during these periods can foster resilience and pave the way for sustainable solutions.

Scorecard: Communication Assessment

  1. Clarity:
    Do you clearly communicate the challenges and objectives to your staff/colleagues?
    Are instructions and expectations communicated in a straightforward manner?
    Rate your clarity of communication on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being poor, 5 being excellent):
  2. Transparency:
    Do you openly share information about the organization’s situation, including difficulties?
    Are decisions and actions communicated transparently to your staff/colleagues?
    Rate your transparency in communication on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being poor, 5 being excellent):
  3. Frequency:
    How regularly do you communicate with your staff/colleagues about ongoing matters?
    Are updates provided at appropriate intervals to keep everyone informed?
    Rate the frequency of your communication on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being infrequent, 5 being very frequent):
  4. Honesty:
    Do you communicate honestly about both successes and challenges?
    Are potential issues addressed candidly without sugar-coating?
    Rate your honesty in communication on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being dishonest, 5 being very honest):
  5. Overall Communication Effectiveness:
    Based on your responses above, evaluate the overall effectiveness of your communication with your staff/colleagues.
    Rate your overall communication effectiveness on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being ineffective, 5 being highly effective):

Tim HJ Rogers
Consult | CoCreate | Deliver

I support people and teams to grow, perform and succeed unlocking potential as a partner Consultant, Coach, Project and Change Manager. Together we can deliver projects and change, and improve the confidence, capacity, drive and desire of the people I work with.

ICF Trained Coach | MBA Management Consultant | PRINCE2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master | AMPG Change Practitioner | Mediation Practitioner | BeTheBusiness Mentor | 4 x GB Gold Medalist | First Aid for Mental Health | Certificate in Applied Therapeutic Skills