Teams and organizations undergo change in many ways and for many reasons. Some say “The only constant in life is change”.
In times of change there is one question that every manager needs to answer: how much attention do I give to this change?
There is no ONE right answer.
In my experience, the only wrong answer is pretending it’s not happening. As long as each manager finds some way to acknowledge the change, there is a chance of salvaging the passion, energy, commitment and momentum that has been built over time. Simply making an announcement and moving forward is the surest way to decrease engagement, productivity and ultimately bottom-line results.
If, as a leader, you are surprised by or disagree with change, it is important to find a compassionate ear at the peer level or externally to process any frustrations and/or fears (HINT: they are often connected). Once the emotional slate is at least a little clearer, it is easier to be an effective sounding board for others.
Here is an example of the type of message that a manager can share with a direct report under the variety of circumstances of change:
“While I may not like it, this is a decision I support. In my role, it is essential for me to do my best to understand our objectives, align with them and inspire greatness in all of you. I have to believe that this decision is best for all of us, even if it doesn’t appear to be from our vantage point. I believe in our founders/executives and I believe in our future. I want to give you a chance to share any concerns with me. I may not have answers for you but I can assure you that your perspective is valuable and I will do my best to take everything you share into consideration. We are focused on doing great work and I want you to maintain that focus. So for the next few minutes let’s pause and just talk. How are you in the midst of all of this?”