The only constant in the universe is change, but the good news is that such changes are also the evidence of real progress, innovation, and measurable achievement and growth. For those of us in the corporate environment, the organizational change can happen due to a reorganization, merger, acquisition or a reworking of senior leadership in the C-Suite. If you want sustainably predictable upward career momentum, you need to be a positive change agent during these tumultuous times. Those who lead the way of those monumental changes as change agents not only survive but see their leadership develop, thrive and flourish.
When I was an executive in the department store business we went through numerous mergers and I saw firsthand what does and doesn’t work. The tendency of some is to be fearful and apprehensive about what the future holds, because they are attached to the familiarity of the status quo and comfort zone. Good leadership will keep them focused on the value of change to benefit their careers as it strengthens and sustains their organization.
Here are a few insights you can share with your employees and teammates to keep everyone in a positive mindset:
Listen, Acknowledge, and Value Others
As leaders or managers there is always a tendency to do things ourselves and make unilateral decisions. But the employees who work under your leadership know what is going on at their level of the organization in a way that you never will unless you get them involved. Always solicit their input and listen to their concerns.
Even if you don’t directly act on their ideas and suggestions, they will still know that you recognize their contributions and value what they have to add to the conversation and bring to the table. You’ll be better informed, they’ll be more engaged, and the whole organization will be more collaborative, innovative, and productive – which is everyone’s common goal.
Embrace Learning and Skill Development
Authority figures who cannot adapt feel threatened by new information. They want everyone to feel they have to go to them for all the answers. As a result, their teams never succeed because the members of those teams don’t get a chance to learn, develop, and shoulder greater responsibility. Those are the experiences employees want to foster confidence, credibility, and self-empowerment.
But executives and managers who proactively support the leadership development of every employee wind up with the strongest, most performance-oriented teams. That makes change exciting and rewarding, and lifts everyone up together, including new hires and new team members who will ease the workload if you ease their transition and learning curve.
Communicate with Reassuring Transparency
Perhaps the most pervasive source of stress, inaction, and the “silo” mentality is a simple lack of effective leadership communication. When companies go through major changes the employees all need answers to the burning question of “What is going happen to me?” You can never over-communicate with your team or colleagues when your organization is undergoing rapid, transformational change.
While you may not know all of the specific answers because details are not finalized, you can keep everyone updated and in the loop. Doing so reassures them, eliminates insecurities, and helps you develop trust-based relationships and build bridges that ensure that your leadership inspires, succeeds, and is noticed in positive ways by senior decision makers who depend on you.
Have you experienced an organizational change recently? What insights did you gain that taught you how to be a more effective and positive agent of change and valued, trusted leader? I’d love to hear those stories from the trenches!