Communicating TransitionsOct 31, 2022
STRATEGIES FOR NAVIGATING CHALLENGING TRANSITIONS
When it finally hit me, it was like a load of bricks! How was I going to tell those closest to me that we were moving? I mean, we did life together for years and years. So many meals and celebrating our kids' birthdays and helping each other out. We worked together and traveled together. I knew that they would be happy for us, but I also knew this was going to be hard.
The reality is: transitions and change are difficult.
Don’t get me wrong, they can be amazing, dream-filled and exciting. Personal transitions like moving away from family, telling your kids that your family is moving, or helping your kids start at a new school, can be exhilarating but they can also be extremely taxing emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Professional transitions fall into the same category. Again, they can be over the top exciting. Getting a promotion or taking a lateral job change in hopes of a promotion or meeting a new team or getting a raise. But, leaving a job can also bring its fair share of hurt, pain, and burnout. Even the best transitions can be filled with stress, anxiety, regret, pain and emotional and physical exhaustion. Saying goodbye to friends, family or co-workers can empty our tanks and it takes time to recuperate. And that’s not even counting if the transition is a rough one. Like if you’re laid off or let go and decide to leave before you wanted to, or your business didn’t work out. Transitions are necessary and important to our leadership development, but they can also take us to the brink of exhaustion.
If we experience the excitement or the pain with our transitions and changes, we can’t forget about the most important components of our transitions…communicating our plans. You have just possibly spent months thinking about what you should do and if you make the transition as well as how it will affect your life. Now is the time to tell the people that are most important to you. In the midst of all the decisions going into your transitions, you also have to think about how you’re going to communicate your transitions.
Communication is absolutely dire to your transitions and changes. Not only will you honor the people in your life who matter by communicating with them, but because they are in your life, they will want to help you and during transitions. And whether or not you want to admit it, you will need the help.
So, where do you start? Who do you tell? Who do you start with? What platform do you use? Do you just send a mass email? Do you put it out there on social media? If you’re communicating either a personal or professional transition or change, here are a few helpful tips to remember before you communicate your transition.
TIPS FOR COMMUNICATING YOUR TRANSITION:
- Keep your circle small throughout the process. Once you tell someone, it will spread. So, keep it close until you're ready for people to know. Just know that someone is possibly going to be hurt. But, the more people you seek advice from or tell about it in the beginning, the more likely you will have to communicate your change much sooner than you would like. So, keep it small.
- Be prepared for people to be excited and hurt. There will be those who will be over the top encouraging and then you may experience the opposite. People will experience a range of emotions. That’s natural. It’s because they care. Just be prepared for facing either emotion from your co-workers or friends and family.
- Once you make your decision, own it. There is the possibility to doubt that you made the right call or that the change was the right decision. Regardless, once it's made, own it. This will help you as you begin to communicate your transition.
Ok, now that you have tips to be mindful and aware of, let’s walk through some steps to help you communicate your transition as best as you can.
STEPS FOR COMMUNICATING YOUR TRANSITION:
- Plan out what you’re going to say. Write it out. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but think it through. If it’s a bad transition, meaning you were fired or laid off or things ended poorly, resist the urge to bad mouth anyone. Don’t be reactive; be proactive. Choose how you want to tell the narrative.
- Decide who is on your home team. Take out a piece of paper and draw a small circle in the middle. Write the names of the people closest to you. This is the group of people that you call any time of the day. Then draw another circle around that and write the names of people who are next closest to you. Continue drawing and filling in the circles until you reach the outer ring of acquaintances. At the end of this exercise, in your inner circles, you will find your home team. This is the team that loves you, encourages you, supports you and challenges you to succeed in life.
- Call each of them. Yes, voice to voice. This will take a little time, but this is incredibly honoring and important. For them to hear it directly from you, if you can carve out the time, will definitely benefit you and them in the long run.
- Make it facebook official. This is depending on your level of comfortability with social media. But, if you’re job searching or building your platform, this can be very helpful for your future.
- Keep your head up. Even in the best of transitions, it can be exhausting. Just keep your head up and communicate in a healthy way. Start to focus on your new season and move forward.
One of the very best leadership decisions you can make is to communicate the absolute best you can when you’re going through a season of transition or change. In the short term, it may not feel like it’s worth it, but hang in there, you’re making the right decision. It will yield great results for you in the long run.
By Jason Raitz - Speak With People Founder & Coach