Change is the only constant, and that is not a cliche. The past year has taught us that everything from our work to home routines can turn on a dime without warning. For instance, the lockdown that was imposed in March last year lasted longer than anyone expected. So, people across the globe had to bring their work home literally. We had to change our routines and adapt to the new WFH trend that has since become a norm. However, any organization will agree that the sudden change puts immense pressure on management and staff. The top brass had to step up like never before and display a level of adaptation that tested every fiber of their leadership skills as they brought about positive change in a dire situation.
Even still, one of the biggest problems that modern organizations face is successful change. In our rapidly evolving world, a company’s survival and success depend on its ability to do things differently. Therefore, leaders have to develop strategies that bring teams together under a shared understanding of the changes required and the way to achieve the said changes.
We have established by now that capable leaders are required to bring about effective change. But how do leaders acquire the skills and drive successful change? The following are a few steps that could help leaders and their teams to achieve positive change.
State, listen, and acknowledge feedback
Whether a situation calls for a significant or minor tweak, leaders must clearly state what the change is about, its positive outcomes, and why it’s imperative. In addition, leaders must paint a picture of what successfully achieving this change will look like.
Change should begin at the top. First, leaders and management staff must ensure that they are on the same page before looping in the rest of the organization. In doing so, team leaders across the organization will be prepared to address all employee concerns.
Secondly, the concerns of the team should be heard. Chances are, team members have been looking forward to the change and know what they need. So, getting their feedback and insights on the matter will assist in successful transitions. Also, feedback is vital because although some changes need no explanation, others need an employees’ cooperation.
Feedback should be ideally obtained during the start, middle, and end of the entire change process. Additionally, gaining feedback doesn’t necessarily require a formal process. A conversation with the team will do in most cases. However, anonymous surveys could make employees feel more comfortable to open up and share their true opinions.
Lastly, acknowledging feedback is just as important as gathering it. And leaders must take time out to reflect on the feedback and let the team know that their voices have been heard.
Use Emotional Intelligence
Change can be scary to most. So, leaders must be compassionate and empathetic towards the team. Clear communication, discipline, and transparency will go a long way during the change process.
Emotional intelligence is not a weakness as it might be perceived. In fact, leaders who improve their emotional intelligence are better equipped to guide the team and drive positive change in the organization. Therefore, understanding the team’s fears and explaining the ‘why’ to the team will reassure them of the benefits. It will also gain their trust, ensuring effective output from everyone in the organization.
Define clear roles and offer training
Making sure that everyone is assigned a role and understands it, is vital to any successful positive change. The team must understand their responsibility and accountability. Once roles are assigned, milestones need to be set, and regular check-ins should follow.
Depending on the level of change, training might be required. Whether the change includes new processes, systems, software, and so on, teams will need to be trained in order to ensure an effective transition. Plus, leaders will need to provide their teams with enough time and resources to complete the training.
Everyone adapts to change at their own pace. However, having a plan in place to expedite change faster is a must for leaders. Setting up a reward system for those who put in their time and effort to embrace the change, will encourage the entire team to participate with a positive attitude.
All in all, change is inevitable, and getting it right the first time will save the organization a lot of trouble. Following the aforementioned steps could go a long way to expedite change in a quick and positive way.