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Are You Creating Conditions for Guessing and Gossip?

Uncategorized Apr 13, 2020

Hi, Claire Laughlin here with your Trust Tip of the Week. 


In this time of crisis, we must remember to communicate thoughtfully, thoroughly and consistently!


People are feeling the earth shift under their feet. 


And, in the absence of information, people make up stories… and often not good ones. 


This is how the rumor mill gets started. 

If you’re not giving your folks information, in easy to understand bits, well, that’s a recipe for guessing and gossip. And one thing we don’t need right now, is rumors and the resulting disassociation that happens in our teams. 


We want people to come together right now- virtually, of course. And we want to help shape the experience that our teams will have during this crisis. 


In one of the classes I teach, we do a 2-day team simulation that leads teams through a number of challenges. At the end of the exercise, our last challenge introduces a big change. It’s amazing to see what happens. 

In most cases, the appointed leaders of the 3 teams disappear together to figure it all out. 

We watch as they sometimes leave their teams without even explaining where they are going or how long they will be gone. The fascinating part is to see what happens in the room while the leaders are absent. 


In moments, people get disengaged. The speculation begins…


Some people just try to persist with whatever it was that they were doing before the change, and others begin to strategize. Some check their email or leave the room. 


So many potential responses. 


But the lesson remains- if you are a leader, it’s time to lay out the road map for your team. 


You certainly don’t have all the answers– no one does right now. 


But you have compassion, and you can help people figure out what to do while you figure out what to do

  • Help others adapt. 
  • Be clear about expectations. 


If you could simply say something like this…“I honestly don’t know what to share with you right now. But here’s something. Think about how you might best be able to spend your time. Let me know what you come up with. 

"I’ll be in meetings for the next week- at least- trying to figure out how we can adapt to this. Your suggestions will be very helpful. I want everyone engaged in thinking about creative ways for us to continue to serve our customers who need us right now.  And, I’ll send you an update every day at 2:00 pm. If I don’t know anything new, I’ll let you know that I don’t know anything new. 

"Our team will stay connected by doing a 15- 30 minute zoom huddle every morning, so that we prioritize together and adapt as well as we can." 

OK? so just communicate. Providing timely information WILL support trust on your team. 

  • Be clear. 
  • Be thoughtful. 
  • Be thorough. 
  • And be consistent. 



Send me a reply or leave me a comment. I deeply appreciate hearing from you. 

Let me know how you are staying connected to your teams. 



Be well. 

And go be a trust builder!


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