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June 11, 2017

Help Your Team Handle Change

Change is frightening for most people who feel vulnerable and uncertain. As a manager and leader, your employees look to you for guidance and direction during times of change. They take their lead from you about how they should think, feel, and behave about the change and its impact on their jobs. Here are some tips to help you lead your team in times of change.shutterstock_98421482

  • Focus on the people issues. As part of effective change management, the “people issues” must be addressed. Acknowledge the uncertainty and anxiety that your employees are experiencing, especially if their roles are changing, or they must learn new skills. Explain the reasons for the change and encourage questions. Listen, discuss, and answer.
  • Identify cheerleaders. Early adopters are eager to embrace the change and are enthusiastic about it. These employees may be younger team members, especially Generation X and Millennials, who tend to embrace change more readily than older employees. They are champions for the change and can influence other employees who may be reluctant or resistant.
  • Handle criticism and skepticism head-on. People who are skeptical about change can be hard to convince since they view change as threatening. They can be critical of not just the change, but how it is being implemented. Don’t wave aside their feelings or criticism; be prepared to address it. Focus on the benefits of the change, keep two-way communication open, and make it safe for them to express their reservations about the change. Reinforce any signs of cooperation from them. See my blog post How to Recover from Negative Criticism for more information.

It is natural to expect a decrease in productivity until employees become familiar and comfortable with a change. Give them time to adjust, make training readily available, and reward those who take advantage of opportunities.

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