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From the impact of disruptive technology in the workplace to the realities of an evolving workforce, change management is a hot topic for many managers. But when change is critical to the success of your team, how do you encourage and even inspire it?
Know your vision
Before broaching the subject of change with your team, you need to be clear on three things: What is the reason for change? What is the desired end state? And what is your plan to get to the desired end state? For example, let’s say you’re going to start using more AI-based tools. The reason is that you want to free up your team from more repetitive tasks so they can focus more on core tasks. This change process will involve training your team in the use of the new tools and redefining their job responsibilities so they can maximize their time.
You need to be completely clear with your team about your vision, the reason for change, and the process you’ll implement to effect it. A lack of communication can cause people to become concerned and disengaged, so frequent and consistent communication is key. Keep your team informed as to the progress of the process, and welcome feedback and questions.
Lead by example
Any change should start with you, the leader. If you expect your people to embrace change, you need to do so first. If you’re adopting new technology, then get trained and start using the new tools. If you’re bringing more independent contractors in on projects, welcome them into the workplace and make sure they have everything they need to do a good job. If your objective is to allow employees to telecommute, work from your home office one day a week.
Make sure your team members feel supported throughout the process. Provide them with the tools and training they need to achieve the desired state. Regularly check in with each person individually, as well as with the team as a whole, to see if they need more assistance.
Acknowledge your team’s efforts
As Sturt and Nordstrom point out in their Forbes article “6 Do’s and Don’ts of Leading Through Change,” it’s important to keep acknowledging all of your team’s efforts. Always bear in mind that it can be more challenging to produce good work when things are in flux, so it can be extra meaningful to thank your people during this time.
Change is exciting, but it can also be confusing and even intimidating for some employees. Nevertheless, when you approach change management with a strong strategy, you can motivate your people to do their best so they can leverage new tools and circumstances — and that in turn can enable your team to reach new heights.