In today’s fast paced competitive market, change is inevitable. With customer expectations constantly evolving, a fluctuating economy and the rapid advancement of technology, a business that wants to remain high growth has to be prepared to adapt and change.
When preparing to lead your company through change it is important to know what to expect. Resistance is a common reaction – when people are pushed out of their comfort zones they often push back. Change often can produce anxiety and uncertainty with team members losing their sense of security. The range of reactions, when change is introduced, is vast and varied as each individual within the team will respond and adjust differently.
Here are some tips for successfully leading teams through change
Be prepared: As a leader your job is to understand and expect that each team member will react to and embrace change in their own way. Let each employee know that their thoughts and feelings do count. Use active listening skills and encourage people to express their feelings.
Introduce change positively: Do not approach change only thinking of the negative resistance you will face. As it is your job to facilitate and lead the process introduce change positively and enthusiastically believing that your employees want to cooperate.
Have a clear plan: Know exactly what you want to do and how you plan to do it, using all the information that is available. This will create certainty for yourself and your team, reducing anxiety and uncertainty giving your team confidence in the process of change and your leadership.
Be transparent with information: Communicate openly about the changes that will occur, the reasons for these changes and the steps that will be taken, and be willing to answer questions or concerns. Team members that feel involved with the process of change are more likely to adopt the new ideas.
Address emotions: Even when change is for the best there can be a sense of loss. It is important to recognise and plan for the emotional aspect of this. If you do not, you run the risk of losing team acceptance of the new direction.
Celebrate success: Once the change has taken place and the team has reached its goal take time out and celebrate. It’s important to explain how the situation/company has improved and acknowledge how each person made a great contribution to achieving this important goal.