If there is one thing about business that doesn’t change, it’s that business will always change! Be it through the advent of new technology, loss of a key employee, new laws that govern the way your industry does business, or the results of a pandemic and recession. No matter what the change may be, the last thing your team wants to hear from you is: “OK, now what do we do?”
An effective leader needs to lead their team through change, and do so with confidence to inspire others to be confident as well.
The following are three tips to help you when leading your team through uncertain times:
1. Know that the path to the eventual goal is not always a linear one. As a team is dealing with change in the workplace, it is not as simple as announcing it, adapting to it and moving toward goals. Employees and even leaders may have changing feelings about the process, and that’s normal. Recognizing and addressing these concerns as they arise is a healthy way to deal with them and is expected in a situation that may feel full of turmoil or even traumatic at times.
2. Identify key leaders and stakeholders early in the process. As the process of change begins, it is important to identify those on your team who represent true leadership qualities. They can be seen as stakeholders in the process and support you in your efforts to lead the team through the change and onto greater success. These individuals will be crucial in helping to instill confidence and keep the team moving together toward the stated goals.
3. Construct a solid plan. Even small changes need a plan. That plan should address changes in processes, products and expectations of the people involved. If a change is drastic, you might have to construct an entirely new business plan. Creating a plan and sharing it with your team will go a long way toward giving them a feeling of stability as they move together in this new business environment.
Change can be scary, full of surprises and extremely challenging at times. But if you have a plan of action, communicate effectively with your team, and move toward new objectives with confidence and a team that is committed as well, you can survive and even thrive in the new adjusted business environment.
Find six more tips in the Round the Table article “Leading through uncertain times.”
Kate Zabriskie is the president of Business Training Works Inc., a Maryland-based talent development firm. She and her team help businesses establish customer service strategies and train their people to live up to what’s promised. For more information, visit businesstrainingworks.com.