Are you a new leader after a recent promotion? Or maybe you have experience being a leader but you are at a new organization or part of a new department. Perhaps you are part of a leadership team that is currently going through a merger or acquisition.
Well it turns out, people don’t really like change.
But change is inevitable right?
Perhaps the primary change is you (new leadership), or maybe the change is much larger like a merger or acquisition. No matter the change, as a person in leadership, you play a primary role in helping your teams through transition and integration.
And you’re not just there to be a sounding board. You are responsible for sharing plans, clarifying expectations, answering questions, and providing transparency. You are there to help manage uncertainty and quell fear.
And how well someone receives and responds to change is dependent on a few factors such as their learning styles, communication choices, or feedback preferences.
Without the ability to meet people where they are and understand how they best receive and respond to information, then you are setting yourself and your team up for a longer and harder road through transition. You will be inviting Elephants into your boardroom that will unnecessarily delay progress. One of these elephants is going to hand out helmets because people will spend a lot more time hitting their heads on the wall. Another one is going to hand you a wig since you’ll pull your hair out trying to determine why some people “get it” and others don’t. And the other one will be sitting in a corner loudly sipping through a straw because he’s a big ‘ol time suck.
Paying attention to those factors (learning styles, communication choices, and feedback preferences) will allow your team and organization to navigate change faster and easier.
Here’s what I’m not saying. I’m not saying you have to have 10 separate conversations with your people, in 10 different ways.
What I am reminding you of, is that you can’t approach everyone on a team in the same way and expect them all to have the same reaction. I am suggesting that you embrace that people are different, and use this knowledge to your advantage. Nip the potential problem in the bud, and plan to provide variety. Teach things more than once and in multiple styles. Disseminate information often and through varying methods. Look for opportunities to provide feedback in different forms.
If you have a smaller team, then you can spend more time customizing your approaches. If you have a larger team then cover your bases most of the time (variety) and individualize when you can.
This will show your teams that you can act like a partner. “It’s us against the problem, not each other.” Create a stronger relationship by understanding their perspective – it’ll make everyone’s life easier and help you develop a high performing team that can move through any change with confidence and capability.
Have you ever turned a tough relationship with an individual or a team?