When the business is undergoing change, as managers we are put in the hot seat for making the implementation happen. Those we work to delegate the responsibility for making change happen at the coal face to us managers, those who we manage expect us to know and understand everything about the change and to handle it perfectly. The phrase ‘rock and a hard place’ come to mind!
Even if you understand the theory, once you are in the thick of it yourself, the theory often goes out the window as emotions take over. So here are some tips for keeping change on track support your team through change.
Tips to Help Your People Adapt to the Emotional Impact of Change
- Invite change leaders to speak at team meetings.
- Encourage people to seek opportunities to build on the change with additional improvements, reward and publicise good ideas
- Consider a team event to celebrate past work achievements and set the scene for even more achievements with the 'new way' of working.
- Consider making a ceremony or event out of destroying redundant instruction manuals, leaving old premises or turning off old equipment
- Consider having an award for the person who completes their new training first or is the first to meet new performance targets.
- Encourage people to 'buddy up' and help each other through the change process
- Test people have understood messages by encouraging different team members to explain to others how they think the change will affect them
Tips for Managing the Process of Change Effectively
- Involve the team in reviewing transition plans and doing a dry run to test if they will work, if there are problems, get them to identify solutions
- If your team are geographically dispersed then encourage them to have an on-line forum to discuss issues and communicate informally
- Set yourself a target to respond to all team questions within 24 hours
- If using ad hoc update meetings, get the team to take it in turns in make notes and update those who missed the meeting
- Identify and utilise staff support mechanisms, reissue any help phone numbers e.g. for employee assistance services
Tips for Managing the Impact of Change on You as the Manager
- Build up effective relationships with those driving the change process. Take them for coffee, show support and build up rapport so they work with you effectively
- Meet with your peers (other managers) going through changes in their team, share ideas, learn from each other's experience and offer support to each other
- Be honest with yourself about how you feel personally about the change, if you have personal concerns write these down and identify how you can address these so that you are fee to concentrate on the needs of your team
- Consider how you can role model the new ways of working, how can you ensure your team notice you doing this?