Change Management - Staying Connected | Part 3 of 3

Change Management – Staying connected

| Part 3 of 3 |

Change Management Staying Connected

The only constant in life is change.

- Heraclitus -

As much as this quote rings true for our personal lives, it does so too in our professional spaces.  For those who lead teams, making sense of the COVID-19 crisis is difficult – not only because of how it impacts us as individuals, but how it impacts those we lead.  The crux is that those whom we lead, look to us for guidance and direction – they are needing our reassurance in a time when we ourselves feel uncertain.

So, how do we lead our people through a global unprecedented change when this is as new to us as it is to them?

For starters, we must make sure that we process and understand our own emotions so that we are in control of them instead of it being in control of us.  In doing so it helps us make better decisions,  it also makes us strong enough to lead better, by being there for our teams when they need our guidance most.

We cannot rely on using motivation alone to keep our teams grounded during this time. As much as motivation helps when we lead internal organisational change; leading rapid, unexpected externally driven change is very different. Because we have no control over the outcome of this pandemic, people naturally look to their leaders to help them lift their spirits and to interpret what is happening. Teams look to their leaders to lead them through this crisis - to something better and more certain. 

This may seem like a huge ask, but as leaders, we can begin to support by:

  • Sharing information and updates that are reliable and accurate.
  • Helping teams to interpret how this crisis impacts them in their professional capacity.
  • Using check-in opportunities to paint a realistic, open and transparent view of the situation.
  • Maintaining hope and optimism that we will all get through this.
  • Taking time to consider and understand your team’s situation that they find themselves in on the home front.

It is okay to admit that you don’t have or know all the answers to their pressing questions about what the future holds. Displaying this vulnerability just makes us more human.

The reality is that this pandemic impacts us all but in different ways.  Sadly, not all of us are blessed with the same type of home environment while we practice social distancing, so make sure that you connect regularly and individually with your teams to make sure that they are coping during this time.

Use as many platforms as possible to connect, considering their different communication preferences, be it a text, voice call or video call.  Whatever the medium, make sure that you do this regularly, particularly during the lockdown, so that you can help your teams interpret the situation more accurately and in turn, build greater levels of trust between you and them. 

Remember that it is you who will need to lead them into the “new” normal, so keep the lines of communication open so that you can help them understand that when this crisis passes, they will be faced with a different kind of normal, both at home and work.

Contributor: Dorothy Fernandez
Change Management Specialist at Omni HR Consulting

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