Does Your Organization Know How to Lead People During Change?
Organizational change is a shift from the status quo at work at the individual, team, or company-wide level. Though organizational change may be perceived as positive in the eyes of those leading it, change is often seen as too risky, unnecessary, and too disruptive to the general workforce.
Data from our change management consulting projects confirms that most employees are apt to worry about:
- The effort it will take to learn new ways while getting their current work done
- Their ability to be as competent in the new way of doing things
- Whether they will receive enough support, training, and guidance to be successful
- Their role in the new plan
Our change management simulation participants learn that employees resist change that they do not understand or, once understood, do not believe is in their best interests.
It is up to change leaders to make sure the reason for change is thoroughly understood by all stakeholders and that those stakeholders believe the change is to the company’s and their benefit.
Leading through Change
The basics of good team management can be reduced to three areas: (1) clear goals, (2) team members’ readiness and ability level to tackle goals, and (3) effective coaching. These management training essentials of good leadership are the same during change — they are just more critical and demand more skill and attention as a leader.
Drilling Down on the Fundamentals
To be sure that your organization is successful and that your team remains engaged, productive, and operating at a high level even during the stress of change, remember to:
- Be Clear, Inclusive, and Transparent
The first challenge is to explain the business case for change. As a leader, encourage questions as you first discuss the changes and then follow up as the change sinks in and the team needs further clarification.Be straightforward and honest about how the change will affect them and in your belief that the rationale for change is sound and, ultimately, in their best interests.
Articulating clear goals will allow you and the team to align on what needs to be done, and when, and how. Make sure each team member understands specifically what they will be accountable for and what a good job will look like.
- Match Talent to the Work to be Done
It is leadership’s job to match employees to the tasks in a way that takes advantage of each individual’s strengths and preferred job role. Consider each person’s level of competence and their readiness to tackle the assignment.Do they need further training to succeed? Provide it.
Do they need lots of supervision or will they perform better with a “hands-off” approach? Apply the appropriate leadership style.
- Coach and Support
As the work toward change begins, a leader’s role is to stay connected, observe progress, and provide feedback — not just once a week, but on a consistent basis.You want to encourage the right behaviors with timely praise and redirect misaligned behaviors as needed. Remember you are not looking for missteps but guiding toward increased understanding of the right way to behave.
The better your employees know how to stay on track, the more confident and engaged they will be.
The Bottom Line
Successful organizational change is difficult. But with the right leadership, change can be achieved. You can rely upon the basics of good leadership behavior; simply up your game.
To learn more about how to lead people during change, download The 5 Change Perspectives that Leaders Must Get Right