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Leading Others in Times of Change

Sep 25, 2020

As this year has gone on, it has made me think about how leaders can best help their teams face changes. After all, for a business to succeed, it must learn to adapt to new market conditions and adopt different processes to stay relevant and competitive. Even if your business leads the pack, there’s a possibility of becoming complacent and losing your status as the alpha of the industry.

For smaller businesses, reacting to market conditions will always make you less successful than those that take initiative and set new trends. In both situations, embracing change is the ideal way to take on evolving market conditions and ride unexpected waves to success.

Unfortunately, leading others in times of change can be difficult. No matter how capable your team is, a strong and confident leader must be at the heart of any productive changes that your business makes.

A business is a collective of people who must all be on the same page

Regardless of how confident you are, your business cannot evolve unless everyone is on the same page. Employees must be kept informed about any changes in your company, and you need to address their concerns if any are raised. The goal here is to encourage others to support change and inspire them to follow your vision.

The easiest way to do this is to share your vision, be transparent, and keep your staff informed. When you have a clear vision of what you want the company to achieve, you’ll find it much easier to share those ideas with your team. It’s also important to emphasize what will stay the same when changes are made. According to McKinsey, around 70 percent of change programs fail to achieve their goals, mostly due to employee resistance and lack of management support. This is a staggering number that shows just how important it is to communicate with your team and help them adjust to the changes that you’ve proposed.

Support and communication will help accommodate change

Leading others in times of change requires you to be supportive of your staff. When you initiate change, your employees will look to you for support, guidance, and advice regarding all aspects of your proposed changes. It’s your responsibility to address those concerns by making yourself available more than you previously were and encouraging your team to communicate with you should they need help to adjust.

Leaders should provide ongoing support to facilitate change by explaining your plan, offering assistance, and motivating employees. However, it’s also important that you don’t make communication a one-way street. It’s important to open up your lines of communication so that your team can contact you to provide feedback and suggestions.

As you propose large changes to the business workflow, you’ll undoubtedly come across inefficiencies and issues that you never planned for. In this situation, you’ll want to listen to feedback from your staff so you can make further adjustments and changes to support your team.