front line

Why Corporate Communication Frustrates Frontline Employees

The defining moments of the culture transformation journey are those moments when someone decides to sign up, go beyond compliance, and truly commit to a cause greater than themselves. These moments can come about when someone reads something, hears something, engages in a conversation, or has a certain experience, and suddenly feels a connection to the movement. These defining moments have the possibility of occurring all around us every day, but we can only seize those opportunities by keeping ourselves open to them by keeping ourselves in the right conversations and frame of mind, connecting with the person or groups we are speaking to, and by being on the lookout for reasons to choose to offer up our own genuine commitment to the cause. To convince others to join the cause, they need to know that we are not just interested in going through the motions of implementing programs and checking boxes while skirting the real issues and avoiding the real conversations. Unfortunately, most of these opportunities are squandered while we are too busy talking about them but not really saying and doing anything that makes a real difference. More often than not, it is the corporate leadership that has difficulty conveying and cultivating these defining moments, if for no other reason than the fact that they often take bird’s eye view, while frontline leaders are in the trenches and can quickly tell what works and what doesn’t.

Should Leadership Development Start at the Top or the Front Lines?

Spoiler alert: the answer is “Yes!” As I have worked with clients, whether internal such as during corporate leadership roles or external clients such as in my current practice, I have often been asked this question, with the underlying assumption that these options were somehow mutually exclusive. In answering this question, in many cases I have had to influence clients to take a different approach than the one they had in mind, because it was based on the mistaken assumption that you can’t do one while you do the other.