Change, is a word that either sends shivers down your spine or leaves you hiding in the closet. For such a small word, it holds a great deal of power; mainly because it involves dealing with the unknown.
When changes occur, you are moving outside of your comfort zone and sometimes even having to rewrite the rule book as you go. In a business environment, change is no less scary, but there are individuals who, at least in theory, are there to help support others through the process by dealing with change appropriately themselves. Here are six ways highly effective leaders deal with change:
1. A positive attitude
Being positive is not necessarily the same as being happy about the change, and the two should not be confused. Change will happen whether you like it or not and if you’re negative about it, you’ll feed that feeling to those you manage and make the change more difficult for everyone. Being positive is about seeing how the change can benefit you, your team, your company, and maybe even society as a whole.
It’s good to have plans and strategies in place, both in your professional and personal life. However, the unexpected happens, and if you cannot work around that, you’ll find the change hard to accept. If you’re able to show that positive planning involves considering alternatives, and you yourself remain flexible, your team will follow.
3. Seeing the big picture
Change isn’t always a bad thing; at least not for everyone. Losing a member of your team might not be good for you, but if it is due to a promotion, it’s right for them. It also provides a new opportunity for either a junior member to move up the ranks or for you to employ new blood. You need to realize that a change isn’t the end of the world, but just the beginning of a new era.
Passing the buck is never a good quality, particularly in a manager. Good leaders take responsibility and lead from the front when changes occur. They provide staff and team members with a positive role model and effectively explain the change and the effects it will have on the team.
5. Forward thinking
Dwelling on the past will stop you from moving forward and being ‘caught in the moment’ can be just as dangerous. An effective manager leads by looking forward. They can see where potential changes will occur and the possible effects those changes will have. This involves being aware of what is happening around them at all times. If a member of your team hands in their notice of resignation, you should have at least had an idea it was likely to happen.
6. Empathy and compassion
Yes, the business world can be a cut throat environment, and you need to have your head in the game at all times. However, if you ever lose sight of the fact that the people around you are thinking and feeling human beings, you will stop being an effective leader.
Change brings with it uncertainty, and this makes people nervous and concerned. You don’t have to become all touchy feely and start hugging everyone, but you do need to take people’s thoughts, feelings, and concerns into account. Truly listen to your team and give them the support they need while managing their expectations and leading them through the change process.
Effective leadership skills in times of change are no different to the skills that an effective leader should have at all times. Team members need someone who will lead from the front, but who is not afraid to walk with them when the time or situation calls for a more subtle approach.