- One of a leader’s most critical duties is managing change. But before you start offering incentives and having conversations with your team members, you have to first fully understand the changes and the benefits they will bring to your organization, particularly when they seem negative at first glance. Otherwise, your change management efforts will have no effect.
This strategy may seem obvious, but a lot of managers hit the ground running without much reflection. For example, Manon consistently ensured that her team was strongly positioned to take advantage of changes in the market. In the past, she had found it easy to motivate her team to change their strategy when the new goal was exciting and aligned with how they understood the world to work.
However, recently Manon had to guide her team through changes that ran counter to the team’s perception of the market and were more problematic to implement. The proposed changes were troubling because they stretched her team’s abilities in uncomfortable ways. They introduced a new operational framework that was not in keeping with how they had operated. And in many ways these changes created unease among the team members.
Manon delved into her managerial bag of tricks to empower her wary colleagues. She offered incentives to shore up support and enthusiasm. She held recognition days to ensure that people were duly acknowledged for their contributions. Manon ensured that they had time to celebrate and have fun as a team. She organized training and professional development opportunities. She communicated openly with her colleagues about what was changing, why it had to change, how the team members could shape and influence the change, and how they would individually and collectively benefit from the alterations.Advertisement
Even with all of these good practices in place, there was still deep uncertainty in the team. Team members were becoming disempowered and disengaged, and Manon didn’t understand why her team was so reluctant to embrace the new methods. They were more than capable of doing the work.
The more she thought about it, the more she realized that she herself hadn’t really bought into the proposed changes at work. For Manon to effectively lead her team, she had to believe in what she was doing. And she didn’t. Over several weeks, Manon asked herself the following questions to better understand her views on the changes:
How did the information mesh with her worldview?
- How did the changes at work challenge her perception of her job and herself?
- How was the emerging reality empowering her?
- How was the emerging reality disempowering her?
They weren’t easy for Manon to answer, but once she found the courage to ask herself these questions, she was able to expand the conversation to her colleagues. She uncovered more about how she perceived the world and how her perceptions affected her decisions. Once she became aware of her own concerns and took measures to empower herself, she was able to work on empowering her team.
Do you agree Manon's experience? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.