What we are currently experiencing is unprecedented. It affects us all, from a regular employee to top management. Some people are working from home office. Many are affected by short-time work, some have even lost their jobs.

The unpredictability of the overall situation and the unpredictable consequences lead to widespread uncertainty.

Managers are now particularly challenged to prove their leadership qualities. They are now all the more expected to be present, with information, confidence and understanding. As figureheads through the stormy seas, they need to communicate correctly.

What is the key to optimal communication in a crisis? How can it even turn it into an opportunity?

Communication must be clear, conscious and precise, with mind and heart, level-headed, thoughtful, reassuring. Honesty is the top priority. The timing must be right.

Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication is a fund of essential elements that are now needed. It corresponds much more to an essential attitude than pure conversation technique. The cooperative relationship is in the foreground and makes it possible in four steps to address everything – even the most sensitive or challenging issues.

The four steps are:

  1. Description without evaluation:
    What is the issue?
    Formulate your observations descriptively, without any evaluation or interpretation. Avoid generalizations such as, “always”, “again”, “never”, etc., because these can very quickly be interpreted as accusations.
  2. Addressing owns own feelings as the I-message:
    How do I feel?
    Try to address precisely the emotion that you feel, without making the other side responsible for your feelings. Avoid using pseudo feelings for describing your feelings. So-called pseudo-feelings, such as “I feel disappointed”, indirectly contain a form of accusation, i.e. the person opposite must have already taken action in advance that led to this feeling. Real feelings are formulated as “I am … angry, sad, etc.”.
  3. What is the need behind the feeling?
    What is important to you?
    Emotions arise, due to needs, underlying these feelings. They are often not apparent at first sight. With the question “Why is this important to me?” these underlying needs can be detected. The own attitude, with which this question is approached, plays a decisive role here. The interlocutor can feel whether the words are authentic and congruent with his or her thoughts.
  4. Formulating your wish that the other side changes his or her behaviour
    If you want the other side to change his or her behaviour, this wish should be formulated as a request. Requests refer to actions in presence, intentions, on the other hand, refer to events in the future. Since empathy always happens in presence, only requests that can be fulfilled. This creates clarity for the other person. It makes a big difference whether you wish something or ask for something.

Right now, you can reach people with non-violent communication, accompany them in a qualified way and get through these difficult times successfully together through perfect communication.

I look forward to receiving your questions or feedback at wfs@coverdale.at