How to Lead Your Team Through Change with Ease
Change often means a period of chaos as people wade through it toward success. Having influence over others to act or to change their minds will often include having to minimize the potential risk of pain in a negative outcome. When it comes to changes within an organization, it takes a skilled leader to help facilitate them well.
Here are some quick stats into the minds of employees and executives regarding change.
- 74% of employees feel they are missing out on company news
- 72% of employees don’t feel they have a full understanding of their company’s strategy
- In organizations where employees are connected, productivity increases by 20–25%
- When it comes to aligning employees’ goals with corporate purposes, only 23% of executives say their company excels at this
It’s no surprise then that many organizational change efforts often fail. It’s not simply about trying to evolve your own approaches and habits, you’re also trying to convince others to change theirs. Organizational initiatives are difficult to execute when there is a lack of change management skills. It’s important to develop these competencies among management so they can successfully lead their teams through these periods of transformation.
We’ve narrowed it down to five strategies management needs to lead through change, but first there are two important questions that need to be addressed when communicating the change(s).
- Do our employees have the motivation to change?
- Are our employees equipped with the ability to change?
If your answers to these questions are “No,” a transition will be slightly tougher, but not impossible. Use the strategies below to help your employees ease into the change.
The Top 5 Strategies Needed to Lead Through Change
- Tell a story. The vision — where you want to be as an organization — is part of a larger story that involves you and the business. The use of storytelling allows everyone to visualize where the company needs to be, but also where it currently is and how to make that transition.
- Chart the path. Equip those in your organization to become leaders in your change communication. When you and your employees reach a shared vision that is deemed good for the company, it’s you that will show them the path to take to get them there.
- Use visual tools. You can create images, such as timelines, countdowns, or graphics that answer FAQs. You can incorporate them via digital signage, screensavers, or in newsletters. Ex.: Use your login screen as a countdown reminder of how many days are left until a change will be implemented. This ensures employees are aware and ready for the change to happen.
- Keep your message employee focused. It’s important to communicate from an employee’s perspective — avoid management speak and being condescending. Employees need to understand what’s in it for the organization but also what’s in it for them. They need to know exactly what is required of them and how they’ll be personally affected by the change. Failure to execute here can result in an unsuccessful change.
- Include rewards and recognition. A good way to keep employees engaged as you roll out the change program is to incorporate an element of reward and recognition. This is also a good strategy for continued communication about the change. You can publicize rewards for employees who take positive approaches toward the change as well as those who are helping make the change possible.
Change in any organization is inevitable. The ability to effectively navigate your team through them will allow you to approach each new transition with ease. When there are systems in place that everyone is aware of and involved in, it helps reframe change as an opportunity for growth rather than a negative experience everyone must trudge through.
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Written by Rachel Strysik