When people lack information, they fill in the blanks–sometimes with something titillating, and sometimes with what they wish were true.
In situations of stress or change, though, they tend to fill in the blanks with their worst fears. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to communicate during periods of organizational change.
During a period of change,
tell people as much as you know
tell them when you’ll know more
tell them when you’ll be coming back with more information
tell them what won’t change
tell them that, in some cases, you don’t know the answers.
Talk to people more than you think you “should” have to.
Then listen (and listen and listen).
And empathize, because change isn’t about logic, it’s about emotion.