Mitt Romney was right: Corporations ARE people … and leaders and managers need to understand this now more than ever!
Cindy and I held the first two of our series of free Communicator Roundtables. The theme was a hot one . . . we have about 40 people on a wait list hoping a slot opens up in one of the next two groups happening next week.
The topic under discussion was helping managers and leaders communicate in these weird times, with so many company ecosystems and cultures being blow up by people working from home.
And the one word that kept coming up over and over again in both groups was “empathy.” That leaders and managers today, now more than ever, need to connect with employees in an authentic, transparent, conversational, and HUMAN way. And to understand that their lives have been turned upside down, yet they are still kicking ass and helping the company succeed.
We actually had a real live CEO in one of the groups. Brilliant guy, and one who really gets the importance of communication. He heads up a small but growing pharmaceutical company. A lot of his stakeholders are on the front lines of the Covid crisis, at great risk. Well, he heard through the company grapevine about a man who hadn’t had contact with his family almost a year, so as not to put them at risk.
So the CEO called him. Fifteen minutes. And it meant the world to the guy. His main message was that he didn’t have any answers. He just wanted to acknowledge the horrible ordeal this person was going through as well as the unbelievable sacrifice this person was making to help battle this pandemic.
The thing is, empathy may not come naturally to corporate leaders . . . many of whom hard-charging, Type A types under tremendous pressure.
That’s why they need us to coach them, to help them do that one-minute video blog every week, connecting to employees. Or to pop into a Teams meeting to let people know how important their work is. Or hell, to pick up the phone and make some calls. And encourage other leaders and managers to do the same.
I always go back to when Mitt Romney, while running for President, said “Corporations are people.” He was ripped apart for saying it, but he was right. I go into dozens of companies a year—including all the “evil” ones: big pharma, big oil, defense contractors, etc. And every time, I am reminded that these “evil corporations” are made up of people who are passionate about their work, and proud of what they do.
I think in these turbulent times, more than ever, we need to remember that . . . and encourage our leaders and managers to remember it as well.
After next week’s two roundtables, we will post a roundup on our blog, with all the tips we are collecting from the groups. And, of course … feel free to share any effective manager communication strategies you may have!