Change is something that comes with the territory of running any organization. As things like technology, the economy and people evolve, adapting is a must. As a leader, managing change is essential to your organization's ongoing success. Effective change management will ensure that your team remains productive and motivated during times of transition. Whether it's a change in strategy, personnel or processes, managing change with ease requires a thoughtful, well-executed approach.
Here are 10 keys to managing change with ease that every leader needs to know.
1. Communicate Effectively and Regularly
Change is a big deal, even if the change is small. The more you communicate about plans for change with your employees the more at ease they’ll feel about it. If they’re left in the dark tension will build. This isn’t good for productivity or morale. Consistent open, honest and transparent communication with your team will ensure that everyone understands why the change is necessary, what the change entails and how it will impact their roles and the organization.
2. Put Your Employees First
Change can be a stressful time, so it's important to put your team’s needs first. Provide support and resources to help them through the change, and be empathetic to their frustrations when things don’t go smoothly. Be sure to listen to everyone’s concerns and feedback and take things into account during the change process. Also, encourage them to share their ideas and opinions, and provide opportunities for them to take ownership of the change. Employees who feel valued and supported during times of change are more likely to be positive, productive and engaged.
3. Develop a Strong Plan
A well-developed change management plan makes all the difference in overall success. Clearly define the goals of the change, the steps needed to achieve those goals and the timeline for implementation. Be sure to involve your employees in the planning process and get their input to ensure buy-in and ownership of the change.
4. Be Sensitive to Resistance
Just hearing the word change can create instant anxiety in employees. We’re creatures of habit and feel most comfortable in our routines and what we’re most familiar with. Resistance to change is natural, and it's vital to be sensitive to your employees' concerns and fears. Understand that resistance is often a result of fear of the unknown, so be sure to address any misconceptions or concerns.
5. Provide Training
Change often requires new skills and processes. Providing training to your employees to ensure they have the knowledge needed and ability to be successful will make change easier. Offer training opportunities throughout the change process so they adapt and get comfortable along the way.
6. Don't Rush Change
Change takes time, so avoid rushing the process. Pushing too hard too fast can create a lot of resistance as well as an implementation mess for everyone, which you’ll have to find ways to clean up and get back on track. Instead, be patient and allow your employees the time they need to adjust to the new normal. And, avoid making major changes too quickly so you don’t shock your team and create negative pressure on performance.
7. Motivate Your Employees
Motivation is a must if you want change to happen on your timeline and without too many bumps. Cheer on your team and let them know they’re doing a great job on a regular basis, and be sure to reward employees for their hard work and dedication.
8. Stay Flexible
Staying flexible will make life easier for everyone. Sometimes we get thrown a curveball or two that disrupts the plan, even if it seemed perfect. A few curveballs should be anticipated. Unknowns happen all the time when working to put change in place, so be open and adjust your plan as needed. Remember that change is a process, and it takes time and creativity to achieve the desired outcomes.
9. Lead by Example
Make sure you’re being the kind of leader you would want to follow through any type of change. It's important to model the behavior and attitudes that you want to see in your team. Stay positive, remain calm under pressure and roll up your sleeves and work along side your team until you all cross the finish line.
10. Celebrate Success
And, what should everyone do when they cross the finish line? Celebrate! But, it shouldn’t just happen at the finish line. Celebrate milestones and successes throughout the journey to keep your team motivated and engaged. This will help build momentum and keep everyone focused on the prize.
Do you want to be a pro at managing change? Check out the Change Management and Innovation Certificate. Learn more and register today.
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