Change can be difficult for leaders and employees alike. But as they say in sports, ‘no pain, no gain.’ Change may often be more exhausting than exhilarating, but the final product is usually worth it in the end.
Luckily, the pressure on your employees can be reduced significantly by making sure the transition is managed properly. Regardless of what the change is or why it’s happening, there are some key steps that good leaders must always take in order to see it through.
So once you’ve taken the plunge and decided on a course of action, how do you sell it to your staff?
1. Understanding the why
The number one reason employees are resistant to change is because they don’t understand why it’s happening. After you’ve spent hours sweating out the roadmap to success behind closed doors, the motivation behind the change may seem incredibly obvious. But believe me, to your employees—who weren’t part of back room deliberations—it rarely is.
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It’s crucial that you take time to explain to everyone—from senior staff on down—why the change is necessary and how it’s going to lead the company on to greater success. Change is much easier to swallow when staff feel like they’re part of a greater mission.
2. Communication, communication, communication!
On that same note, keeping lines of communication open—not just on why the change is so important, but on all matters relating to it—is a key part of keeping employees happy. When they’re kept up to date team members will see that leadership is in control.
What does this mean in practical terms? Communicate early. Communicate in a number of ways. Understand that not everyone will get the big picture. They’re more concerned about what the company will look like after the change happens. What’s their job going to look like? Will they be successful in the new company?
3. Delivering on what your promised
Finally, nothing undermines staff confidence when you promise one thing, and then deliver something quite different. Make sure that what your staff is getting is as close to what they were promised as possible. And, if something changes and it can’t be fixed, let your staff know what and why as soon as possible.
Change doesn’t have to be scary. Whether your staff sees it as charging into the abyss or travelling towards bigger and better things is largely a measure of how you manage it.
The bottom line is, keep them in the loop, and they’ll be happy to get on board.