"Employees are going to be skeptical, especially nowadays. They have any number of reasons to doubt what you're telling them, and that's what skepticism is - it's doubt. They doubt the future that you're painting for them.
Now, you're never going to eliminate all their doubts, but skepticism is manageable, and here's the plan -
- Encourage skeptical points of view, because most doubts are unspoken and you can't do anything if you don't know about them.
- Acknowledge their doubts, because that shows you respect and take this doubt seriously.
- Then isolate their doubts, because that's going to clarify what you need to prove or what you need to disprove.
- Once you've done all that, give them input and they'll feel more included.
- Give them a role to play and they'll feel some ownership.
- Set realistic milestones, because it gives people something positive to look forward to.
- Share your progress, because it's a good way to combat the naysayers.
- Encourage feedback because it shows your confidence.
One final coaching point, you have to pounce on rumors and gossip. Sometimes people doubt what you're saying, but there's no good reason why. They just feel uncertain and they feel doubtful, so they need some way of explaining that doubt, and what happens? People concoct stories to explain the doubt. They reach for plausible ways to explain their skepticism.
Most managers discourage rumors and gossip, but that's the worst thing you can do. You want to get them out in the open and deal with them head-on. Remember, you can't eliminate skepticism and you can't eliminate rumors and gossip, but you can hit them head-on. When you do, you're going to build trust and credibility with your team."