8 Steps for Communicating Leadership Changes

Internal communicators play a leading role in ensuring leadership transitions are communicated well and that employees get to know the story direct and upfront. Here, we share 8 steps for communicating leadership changes effectively.

THE AUTHOR

Lisa Pantelli, head of content & community

Lisa is simply’s head of content and community. She is an award-winning employee engagement and internal communications specialist.

As organisations continue to evolve at a rapid rate, whether it’s downsizing, growing or just trying something different, leadership transitions must be smooth to avoid unnecessary media attention. Communicating in a timely and suitable manner can allow stakeholders to focus on the way forward.

Here are a few tips to ensure a smooth transition at the top:

  1. Address the reason for transition: It pays to speak of the reason directly. Everyone wants to know the truth and it is best to avoid ambiguity. For example, ‘Leader XX has decided to pursue opportunities outside of the firm’. Or ‘Effective XX, we will have leader XX take on the CEO’s role as part of the organisation’s ongoing rotation policy that provides leaders to take on larger responsibilities and harness potential’.
  1. Clarify the plan and process: Before the transition takes place, it is important to craft a communication plan. Identify the key spokesperson(s). Have a trusted leader announce the transition. Provide a detailed flow chart for cascading the news beginning with leaders. If possible, make the announcement face to face and allow opportunities to clarify questions employees may have. For example, they may want to know if there is a thought-through succession or replacement plan in the organisation, and if the process of choosing the successor is logical. It is helpful if senior managers distribute their own communication to their teams identifying the milestones of their now-former CEO as well as what the transition means for the organisation…

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