Sometimes leaders make decisions that impact clients that may also inadvertently have a negative ripple effect on your employees. For example, you could change policies, terms of service, pricing, or even account executives.
Those are perfectly justified decisions. But sometimes your clients may resist the change and take it out on your staff. They may resent the changes and instead of discussing it with leadership, they display negative or passive aggressive behavior with your employees.
Remember that people hear what they want to hear and interpret changes based on their own filters. You may think that you did a brilliant job in communicating these changes with your clients, but it’s not unusual for them to resort to their filters.
When you implement changes like this, take the time to discuss them with your staff. Engage your team to identify possible reactions that clients may have. Once these are identified, develop some comments or explanations together that they can use in response to any flack they may receive.
You won’t be able to anticipate every scenario, but the act of anticipating and brainstorming prepares your staff for possible client resistance.
Taking time to work through potential consequences not only helps your staff in practical ways, but they will also feel more prepared, and in effect, buttressed by you as their manager.
If you are a front-line supervisor and your superiors haven’t taken time to explain similar changes with you, ask for an explanation of what has changed so you can be proactive with your staff as well. The more prepared everyone is, the better the outcome with possibly disgruntled clients.
Header image by Yan Krukau/Pexels.