Leadership in unlikely places

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Don't hide the (scary) truth. Transparency is a hallmark of good leadership. This is even truer in times of uncertainty. Ironically, that's when leaders display a natural tendency to "hunker down" and communicate only the positive aspects of the situation with employees. Sure, you're trying to protect your workforce—but what you're really doing is undermining their trust. Employees know, or at least suspect, the company is facing serious issues, and without accurate information from you, they will "fill in the gaps" themselves. Assumptions and rumors will run rampant.

"Leaders must break through the rhetoric and tell it like it is," asserts Bilbrey. "Communicate with employees in a way that is timely, understandable, meaningful, and inspirational. Open, frequent communication will generate the commitment and energy needed to rally the organization with a sense of ownership that says, 'We can do this.'"

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