Leading during change is a frightening undertaking for managers and employees alike. But sometimes, your company needs to evolve to meet the changing demands of your industry.
The trick, of course, is changing successfully. You want to provide better services to your customers and revamp your image without alienating employees that have been loyal to you for some time.
If you’ve been tasked with steering your company through turbulent times, here are a few tips to help you lead the charge with grace.
Leverage the Strengths of the Culture You Have
It might sound counterintuitive, but if you want to lead through change, the first step is to look back.
Or, rather, look back at what was already working.
Change tends to spook even the steadiest employee. People get nervous that they’ll fall between the cracks of an overhaul or that the change will be so dramatic that they won’t enjoy being in the workplace anymore.
To prevent this, tap into the positive feelings employees have for your old work environment and weave them into the new workplace. The key here is to unify your workforce.
The easiest way to leverage those positive emotions is to identify employee pride points. What makes them most proud of being in your workplace instead of someone else’s?
Then use those pride points as the foundations of your new workplace.
Another approach is to identify the strengths of employee teams. By drawing on what your employees do best, it’s much easier for you to keep them involved in the transformation.
When your organization is going through upheaval, you have to keep your eye on the prize. After all, how can you expect your employees to stay on target if their boss isn’t on target?
To that end, get crystal clear about your end goal and what you need to do to accomplish it.
You may not know what that goal is, not at first. That’s alright. Be open to criticism and suggestions and always prioritize creating a culture of purpose.
Maintain Open Communication
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, none of this will work without open communication.
Too many organizations undervalue communication, especially in times of change. The truth is, communication is more important than ever in times of change.
Think of it this way.
You’re trying to refocus your company. You’re trying to do that without losing valuable employees in the process. In order to do that, employees have to feel valued.
If they don’t know what’s going on or what’s expected of them, they’re not going to feel all that valuable.
So take extra time to acknowledge your people, even if it feels like you barely have time to sneeze.
Invest in Your People
This dovetails into our last point: invest in your people.
Your people are the ones who bring your vision to life. Without them, your company would never be anything more than an idea.
Even small companies can invest in their employees in small ways. Maybe you bring in experts to lead training. Maybe you incorporate team-building exercises.
Whatever it is, make sure that it shows your employees how much they’re worth to you.
Leading Through Change Is About Adapting
Leading through change might be scary at first, but it is possible. And remember: the goal is to make your company stronger.
Part of this process is finding the right tools for the job. If your company is changing to meet the times, don’t you think it’s time to update your resources?
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