Essentials to be a trusted communication partner

What are some of the characteristics communications leaders need to show to be worthy recipients of trust, inside and outside the organisation?

 

 

Meet Frank. Frank is a business leader who is keen to communicate a team re-organisation. He feels the change is easy to comprehend and he doesn’t need to communicate widely. Since the changes are meant for a region he suggests the message is shared locally.

Meet Jill. Jill is the communications manager, and she’s not convinced. She seeks the views of her peers and leaders across regions and is told that Frank’s team is missing an opportunity to keep the rest of the organisation informed. Being unaware of these changes can be unsettling for Frank’s peers and others in the organisation. Taking these insights and perspectives, Jill challenges Frank to step up and announce his message on a wider level. Frank relents after listening to Jill’s convincing arguments. He later drops a note to Jill’s manager to share how he valued her counsel and appreciated the fresh perspectives that she brought to this communication.

Let’s consider another scenario. A former employee posts inflammatory comments about certain communities on his Facebook page and creates an online forum that spreads communal disharmony. His page indicates his association with a former employer. Enraged online readers contact the organisation and are told the individual no longer works with the firm. They seek action against the person involved. However the organisation’s leaders prefer to stay away and avoid getting embroiled in the controversy. Jim, the corporate communication manager, convinces his leaders of a potential backlash and steps up to engage the public and media. Over the next few days he personally responds to the online petitioners and reports the issue to the police who take action against the individual. His effective handling of the situation defuses any further reputational damage and the organisation receives plaudits for its effort.

Aniisu K. Verghese

Aniisu K. Verghese leads corporate communications and corporate social responsibility for Tesco Bengaluru, the technology and operations center of Tesco. He is an internal communication leader and author with over 16 years’ experience in internal communications and social media with retail, IT, financial services and consulting organisations. Aniisu was recognised with the 2015 PR Hall of Fame honour  by the Public Relations Council of India.