A Leadership Communications Primer for Numbing Times

A letter to all employees, from every CEO.

Lots of executive communication pros we’re talking to are running out of things to tell employees about coronavirus; one of them offered this hard-bitten “Leadership Communications Primer for Numbing Times.” —ed.

Dear (employee/associate/colleague/partner/unwitting participant in this capitalistic scheme),

These are certainly (challenging/unprecedented/uncertain/scary as shit) times. But as (we work together/you manage/we blindly stumble/I gaze coldly from my penthouse above the infected throngs) through this pandemic, I want to tell you how (proud/amazed/awed/inspired/slightly alarmed) I am by your (actions/efforts/contributions/flexibility/acquiescence). Your ability to (keep working/serve our customers/video conference in your pajamas) is truly (amazing/a defining moment in our history/unsettling beyond words.)

As the (pandemic/virus/emergency/totally foreseeable public health crisis that I’ll never acknowledge because I’m scared of making Trump mad) moves ahead, it will be critical that we remain (calm/informed/ healthy/at least asymptomatic) so that together we can (move forward/return to work/muddle ahead/remain a slave to the system that created this mess in the first place.)

Over the next (few days/weeks/months/vague period determined by whether we have enough sane communication professionals left to craft something of cogent quality), (I/we/the company/the organization/the far right anarchists/the out-of-touch libertarians/the tyrannical left) will issue (guidelines/information/tips/rules/pronouncements ignoring science and without regard to public or personal safety) on how we can all (return to work/reopen the economy/reestablish a new workplace/ensure my compensation doesn’t fall/drag ourselves back to the drudgery that was drudgery before this drudgery.)

It will be critical that we all (follow/pretend to follow/completely ignore) these instructions. Our (health/livelihoods/company/organization/undeserving reputation as a pillar of the community [thanks PR team!]), depends on (you/your gullibility/your hunger/your knowledge that the organization is sitting on 27 cases of unopened toilet paper).

Thank you for (understanding/all you have done/grieving on your own time/your reluctance to call us out when we ran out of hand sanitizer that one time we called you back too early because we totally ignored CDC guidelines and common sense.)

I’ll see you (back at work J!/on the floor where you belong/under my thumb again soon.) Until then, (stay safe/remain healthy/be thankful you’re even getting this note and not instructions on how to apply for meager social assistance.)

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