Leading Teams Through Times of Change

Growth. Disruption. Change. How are you enabling your team to thrive in this post-pandemic new normal? Let’s face it, change can be uncomfortable. Particularly now when survey after survey is reporting that managers and leaders are stressed out and anxiety levels are at an all-time high. Your ability to lead people through times of change and disruption is essential to keeping team productivity and morale high.

Here are 10 tips we’ve learned along the way…

  1. Acknowledge the uncertainty. Pretending that everything is “business as usual” will only make you look like you are ignoring the issue or can’t read the room. Either way, it will undermine your credibility as a leader. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Our ability to be honest and vulnerable during times of change is a way to connect with team members, letting them know they are not alone.
  2. Engage your team in strategic planning. When you can bring your people in to get their feedback and input into strategic planning, it not only leads to a better plan, but also ensures broad engagement and ownership, both of which are critical in having an optimistic outlook for the future. It also motivates your team by creating alignment and focus.
  3. Encourage your team to focus on what is in their control. We all have some control over our work. Encourage and empower every team member can control the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of their work. Feeling like we have agency in our daily lives is crucial to navigating the bumpy road of change and disruption.
  4. Stay visible. As much as we all want to retreat to our office during times of strife, this is not the time. Take time to connect with team members, stopping by their desk or having short one-on-ones via Zoom if some of your people are working remotely.
  5. Know who you are and what you stand for. When you are clear on your own values, it helps streamline and bolster decision-making. From an organizational standpoint, defining your values and cascading them down throughout the organization creates an engaged culture that can really help ride out the rough times.
  6. Put on your own oxygen mask first. Just like those public service announcements on planes, take care of yourself first so you can help others. Make sure you’re focussing on self-care. People pick up on the energy you exude, so it’s critical that you find avenues to help you keep things in perspective. A mentor, coach or sounding board helps.
  7. Don’t underestimate yourself as a leader. You have more ability to influence than you think, so don’t fall into the trap of “imposter syndrome.”
  8. Don’t go it alone. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Reach out for support through peer groups, coaches and mentors who can help you build your personal resilience and support you in your leadership.
  9. Be clear. Now is not the time for unclear expectations. Push regular communication, ongoing just-in-time feedback and ensure that all team members know what is expected of them and by when.
  10. Look for the bright spots. Change and disruption are difficult, so celebrate your team’s wins, recognize positive progress, encourage new skills and behaviours, and focus on the positive. Reinforcing success helps make people comfortable with change, and allows you to sustain momentum.

If you’re curious about how The Roundtable can help your organization develop an environment where leaders can support each other through coaching and mentoring, let’s start a conversation. Be sure to download our L&D Trends 2023 to see more trends in the year ahead.

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