As a leader in charge of driving a team through a transition process, you are no stranger to the difficulties of change. Whether it’s personnel changes on your team, a wrench is thrown into your project, or widespread organizational change, something is always in transition. So, it’s important that you and your team are equipped with tools to make this process work even better.
This next segment of the Leading Through Change series answers questions that may arise regarding your team. It can be frustrating to juggle the varying change appetites, attitudes, and emotions of the individual people. But it doesn’t have to be such a circus act, not when you have tips to get you and your team through it! The discussion of these three questions can help you lead your team through change:
1. How do you know if they’re really stuck in the mud?
If people say they’re stuck, they’re probably stuck. If decisions are being made and unmade and remade, you’re probably stuck. If you’re facing “analysis paralysis”, or this is the fourth time you’ve introduced a “new way” to try to solve the same problem, you’re probably stuck in the mud. It’s time to remind yourself and your team of where you’re going! Why are you making the change in the first place? What motivates your team to keep pushing through? Look for someone on the team who remembers and supports the why of the change, and let their positive energy help guide your team.
2. What do you do when one team wants change, and no one wants to follow?
The team that wants to change needs to grow their influence skills. That team would benefit from listening, and learning what matters and what’s important to everyone else. If no one wants to follow, then what’s important to the small group that wants to change, simply isn’t important to the others yet. So, the change group should learn what is important to those that don’t want to follow. This way, the team can see how to position the change within the context of what matters to the others. This will help increase their influence, and the likelihood of getting the rest to follow suit.
3. How do you make sure the team is together?
Open dialog, questioning and verbal expressions of “I don’t understand” are all really healthy, and good to see. Encourage and reciprocate these behaviors to establish the practice as a norm for your team. Behind-the-scenes or partially obscured negativity can spread and destroy like a cancer. So, listen for sarcasm, hostility, stony silence, backbiting, uncharacteristic or irregular spouts of anger or negativity. Watch for eye rolling, defiance, resistance, or noncompliance. If you notice these things, it’s best to address it in a comfortable, supportive environment. Make sure your team feels comfortable coming to you with these thoughts so you can address them head on, and get buy-in from them. If you’ve established the team norm of open dialogue, these conversations can be productive and help bring the team together.
More often than not, change involves more than one person. As someone leading a team of people through the transition, it’s important that the group as a whole isn’t forgotten. It can be easy to focus on the individuals who make the change tougher, so think about how you can use the rest of your team to get others to come along with you. Remind yourself and your team that you’re in it together!
Do you have other questions about leading a team through change? Let us know how we can be useful to you!