When change is in the air, a team’s morale may begin to slide. Team members feel worried or are angry about the change. In these situations, what’s a manager to do?
Helping people manage change effectively is one of a team leader’s the most important jobs. Do it well and the team can deal with anything thrown its way. Do it poorly and the team will bog down on even the smallest of changes.
The biggest mistake team leaders make is to assume people will not care about a change. They think it is just a little thing and later are surprised to discover everyone is upset about what is happening to them.
Change is never easy. Most people will experience some negative feelings about it, even for the changes that seem good. You can help ease the process. Here are three broad strategies that will help your team more effectively deal with change.
Communicate. Change is scary for people because it involves lots of mystery. You should tell people everything you know and are able to share. There are at least four questions you must be prepared to answer:
- Why is this change necessary?
- What is it going to look like/involve?
- How are we going to make the transition?
- How will this specifically affect me (good/bad)?
Problem Solve. When you look at your team as a whole, you will likely notice some people handle the change better than others. Some will really struggle. They might disengage from their work or show lots of anger. Remember that behaviors are just symptoms. The trick is to work with the person to discover the real problem and develop a plan for overcoming the issue.
Patience. Ultimately most people do just fine if given a little time to adjust to changes. The amount of time varies from person to person. You can help people during the transition by being empathetic and giving them some time to work through the emotional and practical challenges associated with the change.