Developing Your Talent

5 Top Ways to Help Lead Change

By Kristen Leverone on April 5, 2012

Organizational change is ongoing and continuous. And it’s necessary. Companies must address business realities, such as shifts in strategy, changing marketplace demands, economic conditions, regulatory issues or the introduction of new technology.

Change requires employees to adapt to new plans, new people, new roles and new responsibilities.  But it’s often difficult for individuals to remain productive and focused on business goals when resistance rears its head.

Here are five top ways that leaders can reduce resistance and help lead change:

  • Communicate. Share appropriate information in an honest and straightforward way. Ask your team what they believe is the reason for the change and be prepared to help them understand why it’s happening. Ask your team what questions or concerns they may have regarding the change and be prepared to provide an answer to each.
  • Listen. Pay attention to what your team is saying and how they are behaving so that you can help them accept that things are different and understand why the change is happening. You can help them make an informed choice about how they want to respond and then move forward with purpose.
  • Direct. Set very clear expectations. If necessary, guide your team in setting priorities and deadlines. Establish short-term, achievable goals to help build confidence. Ensure your team has the resources needed to succeed and provide development for those who are taking on new responsibilities or new roles.
  • Engage. Reward and reinforce positive attitudes and behaviors. Recognize individual contributions and successes to the team and the organization. Encourage your team to offer suggestions regarding the implementation of change initiatives. Continue to check in with your team to make sure goals are being met and to uncover obstacles.
  • Coach. Regularly highlight the benefits of the change and the successes achieved. Recruit early adopters as change agents and partner them with those who are still struggling with change. Encourage individual team members to share “testimonials” that demonstrate the opportunities that have arisen from change and the successes achieved.

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