If you are struggling with change at your workplace and having no idea about what change is all about. Who are you going to look up to in this chaotic situation? Its leadership. There is strong relationship between leadership and change management.
Obviously, it is the leader’s job to help sail through his team in this challenging journey. And good leaders always know how to manage their teams during change.
Leaders are change agent. They inspire change and help others to overcome resistance to change. They fix problems through their technical knowledge and building trust among their team. If they are not capable to facilitate their team to cope with fear, anxiety and pressure of change, the outcome will be nothing but a failure.
Here are nine powerful ways leaders can help their team to deal with organizational change.
1. Explain them why change is needed
Every team member needs to know why change is essential and how their organization is going implement it. And this is first and foremost duty of a leader to explain his/her team the purpose of change. A good leader is capable to answer all why, how, when questions with respect to change.
According to Kotter’s 8 steps model of change management, a leader needs to first create a sense of urgency about change by having an open dialogue with his team. He further states that change is only possible if 75% of team members are convinced that change is necessary.
This sort of dialogue is not possible with one interaction or meeting. It requires a series of interaction and follow through. To make this dialogue effective, leader should exactly know that what sort of information he is going to share with his/her team and what are possible questions from his/her team.
2. Understand their perspective
Its entire team who is to implement desired vision so it is necessary for leaders to understand their perspective. Good leaders seek feedback from their team. They listen to voices of their team. This helps leaders to make effective change strategy and smooth implementation of whole process of change.
Many a times team members are reluctant to open up about their thoughts on organizational change. They avoid to share it in meetings and other interactions. Therefore, good leaders show empathy. They observe behaviours of their team members to know what change means to them.
One of good ways of doing this is to spend some time together. Make more informal interactions or have lunch with your team or arrange any sports activity. It will work wonders for sure.
3. Maintain open communication
During the stressful and challenging time of change, employees need to listen more and more from their management. They seek guidance on every step. For this, leaders need to open all communication channels for them and engage them in all planning and decisions.
Opening all communication channels shows that the leaders are transparent and honest. On the other hand, it also sends message that they take care of their employees.
It is also advisable to utilize available communication channels instead of creating new ones. Why? Because employees are familiar with existing system and also there is no need to add additional layers of communication in stressful time of change.
4. Fix their problems
During change, nothing works like finding quick solutions of problems. Good leaders act decisively and effectively when they are in position to fix problems of employees. This will help them to win trust of their employees.
It is also important to avoid make lofty claims and false promise in this time. Many a times problems are beyond their control, so leaders need to avoid wasting time and explain clearly their position. In such a case, their team is likely to understand and trust them.
5. Document process of change
Documenting process of change and new workflow is very crucial. It helps to understand what is useful, what does work and how things are moving forward.
Good leaders ensure that every thing related to change and new work flow is available in black and white. This makes easy for employees to adopt to change in no time.
It also provides an opportunity to reflect on changes, track progress and refine it. In this way, leaders develop new manuals, guidelines and new work structures which helps to sustain change.
6. Improve capacity of your team
Good leaders always facilitate their team with more opportunity and resources to learn new knowledge and build new skills. Leaders and management first work on creating desire among their team members to improve their capacity.
As ADKAR model of change management explains that creating desire, providing knowledge and making ability to employees are among key building blocks to implement change.
This is an important part of entire change management process so leaders should invest their precious resources and energy to make it successful. They should carefully and strategically design training program which benefit their teams most. They should know exactly what new skills will fit best in change and who need what in terms of knowledge and new skills.
7. Define their roles and responsibilities
Good leaders are very good at defining roles and responsibilities. Lack of clarity and confusion are the biggest threat to motivation of employees. If goes unaddressed, this situation leads to other issues like waste of time and resources.
Leaders need to work closely with their team to identify who will be doing what. Together with their team, they can set timelines and milestone so that they can monitor progress.
It is very natural that employees can escape from responsibility in any new situation. By defining role and responsibility, leaders can hold responsible accountable if things are not working in right direction.
8. Encourage them to take initiative
It is naturally difficult to experience new things during the time of change. When things are not certain, every one wants to plays safe and follow standard practices. But this approach has its own disadvantage that team members restraint to think out of box and take initiative to find new solutions of new problems.
In this situation, it is leadership and management which encourages its team to take initiatives. So, it is test of leaders that how they hold their nerves and put confidence in their team to try new things.
9. Lead from the front
Leadership is all about set yourself as a good example to follow. Employees are keen observers of their leadership. They tend to listen to their leaders and management. They also read new guidelines and manuals. But more importantly, they act best when they see their leadership is working hard.
The renowned psychologist Jerome Bruner did this research and found that employees only remember 10 percent of things they hear and 20 percent of what they read. But around 80 percent of people remember things they see or do.
Take Home Points
- Being change agents, leaders inspire their team to deal with change.
- First step is to explain their team why change is necessary followed by understanding what does change means to their team.
- They keep good communication with their team and try to find possible solutions of day to day problems of their team.
- Leaders ensures documentation of essential process to facilitate their team.
- Nothing is important than building capacity of their teams to deal with new situation.
- They define new roles and responsibilities to minimize confusion.
- They encourage their team to take initiatives but they always set themselves as a good example when it comes to working hard and adapting to change.