Jamie Barnes

By Jamie Barnes

Your company’s culture is built on human behaviors. The actions that are rewarded are the ones that get reinforced then spread like model behavior throughout your organization. So if you’re not rewarding behaviors that help people work together better, you might be enforcing a suboptimal culture.

The first step to building an effective communication strategy is to define the audiences and barriers to engagement. It doesn’t matter if the client is investing in an equity and inclusion strategy or implementing a massive system change – we need to uncover why employees may not buy in to your initiative.

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As leaders, we have to trust that our judgment and experience will successfully guide our teams and organizations forward. It’s equally important to know when to give up control and test the instincts of your team, even if you would do things differently.

My team was troubleshooting lack of engagement in a program. They threw out an idea and I’ll admit, I wasn’t really on board. After a couple of weeks, their approach hadn’t gained momentum and I suggested a different solution. But they were committed to giving their idea a fair shot. I acquiesced. Fast forward two months and their idea is working! People outside our group have complimented the approach and engagement in the program has improved.

My team was right. I was wrong. This is why I’m happy about it…

  1. I’m happy that I work with an energetic team that’s willing to put in extra work to try new things even when my support wavers.
  2. I’m happy that I work with a team that has the patience and stick-to-it-iveness to see an idea through until it succeeds.
  3. I’m happy that I work with a team that is confident in their own judgment and experience. And that they feel comfortable going to bat for good ideas even if I don’t initially see their vision.

Being a good leader means also being a good team member and collaborator. It’s important to give others opportunities to test ideas and manage projects. That’s the best way to help the people on your team grow into effective leaders themselves.

Jamie Barnes is a consulting partner with Workforce Communication. With a focus on change management communications, her approach is rooted in proven practices. She has worked in global firms and creative agencies, and she studied behavior change with behavioral scientist BJ Fogg PhD, the neuroscience of learning with the NeuroLeadership Institute, and change management with Prosci. Jamie studied organizational communications at the University of Chicago and has a BA in social science from National Louis University.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and follow our team at Workforce Communication.

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