Soft is the new hard: Communication, responsibility and navigating change

In this episode of Flying Solo, we are joined by the incredible Leah Mether, a communication expert and author of the book Soft is the New Hard. Leah’s expertise lies in helping individuals navigate the challenges of change, difficult conversations, and communicating more effectively.

As a former journalist turned corporate communication consultant, Leah brings a unique perspective to the table.

She joins us to take a dive deep into the importance of curiosity and empathy in dealing with resistance to change, especially in the context of the disruptive changes brought about by the pandemic. Leah shares eight reasons why people resist change and provides practical strategies to address each one.

We also discuss the impact of change fatigue and the role of leadership in effectively managing change within teams. As we explore Leah’s journey from journalism to corporate communication and her decision to focus on the “people part” of roles, we uncover the essential elements for successful communication during times of uncertainty.

Join us as Leah shares her valuable insights and offers listeners a four-part framework for navigating uncertainty. We also delve into the significance of soft skills in today’s ever-evolving business landscape and why developing effective communication and emotional intelligence is crucial for success.

So, grab your headphones and get ready to learn how to navigate change, communicate effectively, and ultimately thrive in this intriguing episode of Flying Solo with Leah Mether!

Key topics discussed in this podcast

Understanding and Addressing Resistance to Change

  • Importance of curiosity and empathy in dealing with resistance
  • Eight reasons why people resist change and how to address each reason
  • Change fatigue as a common reason for resistance, especially during COVID-19
  • Need for leaders to pace and prioritize change to avoid overwhelming team

Effective Communication during Times of Change

  • Importance of clarifying and checking expectations
  • Approach difficult conversations with curiosity and open-mindedness
  • Communicate early and often, even if it involves conflict or confrontation
  • Use different communication methods (e.g., team meetings, one-on-one conversations, emails) to effectively communicate chan

Personal Responsibility and Accountability

  • Importance of personal responsibility in improving communication and behavior
  • Model the behavior you want to see in others
  • Prioritize self-accountability before addressing others’ poor behavior
  • Set clear expectations with your team to avoid tricky conversations and hold people accountable

Navigating Uncertainty and Change

  • Five key elements for navigating uncertainty and change: creating clarity, connecting with curiosity and empathy, challenging with candor, coaching with compassion, and committing with consistency
  • Soft skills as the crucial “hard skills” for success
  • Recognizing the overlooked importance of developing soft skills
  • Future-proofing businesses and careers through the development of customer service and communication skills

The Impact of COVID-19 on Communication and Relationships

  • COVID-19’s varied impact on individuals and teams
  • Generational differences in communication preferences
  • Need to be intentional and conscious about building relationships and improving communication, particularly during COVID
  • Communication’s essential role in business success

Timestamped overview

[00:03:20] The value of soft skills.

[00:06:05] COVID impact: Different experiences, communication is crucial.

[00:12:29] Five elements for navigating uncertainty and change:: clarity, connection, candour, compassion, consistency

[00:17:52] Resistance to change can be addressed through curiosity and empathy. Understanding the reasons behind resistance, such as lack of understanding or change fatigue, allows leaders to approach it effectively. Prioritizing changes and being mindful of people’s capacity can help navigate and implement change successfully.

[00:20:55] Approach for communicating change during uncertainty.

[00:26:32] Setting expectations to avoid difficult conversations.

[00:29:15] Communicate early, often, and with curiosity.

[00:32:28] Taking personal responsibility for your communication.

Download the full podcast transcript

Host: Cec Busby
Producer: Mikey Marren
Guest: Leah Mether. Find out more about Leah

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