Leadership Expectation: Be a VisionaryEveryone reacts differently to the prospect of change, and most of these reactions are based on emotion. When an individual is presented with a change, their response will be informed by their internal opinion on whether this is a “good” or a “bad” change—and we each decide what is good and what is not based on our past experiences. Change is inevitable, and helping others manage their responses is a big part of leading through it.
Tips for leading others through change:
- Make a good first impression. As leaders, folks around us watch to see how we will react. Then, they use this observation to inform their own reaction. When presenting the team with a change, try to find the positive or at least deliver the news in a positive way without going overboard or minimizing the scope of the effect. When your positivity fails, try confidence as a way to carry your message. State facts instead of opinions, and keep conversations focused on those.
- Be consistent. Continuing to move forward with a positive attitude, even in smaller group settings, is an important part of keeping the positive vibe around the change. If we speak in a positive manner in front of the group but talk down about the change in private conversations, this will not only diminish the positivity of the team but will also serve to hurt the trust they have in you as a leader.
- Keep communication open. Be honest, be straightforward, ask questions, and leave room for answers.
- Relieve barriers as they arise. With change comes a learning curve as well as potential barriers to successful implementation. As a leader, do not hesitate to escalate when a barrier arises and help alleviate what you can.
- Model the behavior you want to see. Be the champion of the change! Reward and reinforce the positive behaviors and coach those reluctant to accept the change to work their way toward acceptance.
- Most of all, give people time. Even if a change must occur immediately, everyone needs to work through their emotions on their own pace. Working through their emotions does not mean they do not have to comply. It just means they don’t have to like it.
A note of caution: leading through change does not mean WE will not experience our own emotions. We must also give ourselves the time we need to adjust to the change. Being open and honest about our concerns and fears and moving forward in spite of them will demonstrate the culture of how our collective "we" adopts and implements change.
Tip #10: When faced with a change, lead others through it with confidence, honesty, and consistency.