Introducing change to your team can be challenging if not carried out with due diligence. Globalisation and constant innovation of technology result in a constantly evolving business environment. Phenomena such as social media and mobile adaptability have revolutionised business and the effect of this is an ever-increasing need for change, and therefore change management.
A company must evolve in order to stay competitive, and everyone needs to be onboard when change is on the horizon. To ensure leaders are experienced in handling change management, here are 5 principles for introducing change to your team:
1. Be honest about what is changing and why?
Speaking clearly and honestly is key to communicating with employees at any time, but especially during uncertain – and sometimes unsettling – times of change. People respond well to respectful and honest communication. Let employees understand the source of the change and the reason things are changing. More often than not, if its not done in a manner whereby employees are spoken down to or confused with unnnecesary jargon, the message is well received. You want to build trust from the get and this step is crucial to getting things off on the right foot.
2. Share your vision and explain the benefits
Now that you have informed your team about the change, get them to buy into your vision. You’re the artist here, paint the picture of what is going to happen and when. This will reassure the team of the road ahead and allow them to see where they fit in. Don’t stop there, explain the benefits that the new change will bring along, as well as the new opportunities that they may be able to benefit from. Acknowledge that things will be different, however once they buy in to the upside, the change becomes easier.
Look, if the change has no upside, be honest about it. Yeah it sucks that sometimes it may be change we opposed to and are forced to put on a brave face for the sake of the organisation. I’d let my team know that regardless, I will do whatever necessary to ensure that the process is smooth for them.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
3. Manage expectations
I read an article last week that stated “The worth of any business leader can be measured simply by analysing his or her ability to manage expectations”
I have to agree as when leading a department through change, managing expectations is more critical that ever. Clarify what is expected from your team, and conversely figure out what they expect from you. As you identify the key role players from your team,hold the relevant individuals accountable throughout the process. Ensure that you equip them with the proper tools, talent, resources, responsibility and authority necessary for finishing the race. If it’s not managed you will encounter resistance from the team which brings me to the next point.
4. Address Resistance
If the team are actively participating in the change process, some are less likely to experience resistance. The key to this challenge is to understand the true nature of resistance. Actually, what employees resist is usually not technical change but social change—the change in their human relationships that generally accompanies technical change.
Resistance is usually created because of certain blind spots and attitudes which employees have as a result of their preoccupation with the technical aspects of new ideas. This is also a great opportunity for you as the leader to coach your team through the change.
5. Empower employees to contribute
Control of one’s own job is one of the key factors that employees want from work. So, too, this control aspect follows when you seek to minimise resistance to change. Give your team control over any aspect of the change that they can manage.
If you have communicated transparently, you have provided the direction, the rationale and goals, and the parameters that have been set by your organization. Within that framework, your objective is to empower the team to make the change work.
What are your thoughts on change? How would you go about introducing it to your team?