Six Things You Must Do to Become An Effective Leader in The Midst of Change

Change Management Skills

All progress is the result of change.

But not all change is progress.

Some changes don't make any sense.

In fact, some leadership behaviours actually create more stress for yourself and your co-workers.

So what works?

Learn How to Cope With Change Quickly and Easily!

Six Things a Change Leader Must Do

1. Don't Beat Yourself Up

You did not cause the tough, changing times in your industry, and you could not have predicted all the changes coming down the road.

The nature of change is unpredictable.

In 1922 the great movie mogul Harry Warner said:

"Who the **** wants to hear actors talk?"

In 1943 the founder of IBM Tom Watson said:

"I think there is a world market for about five computers."

In 1973 Ken Olsen, the President of Digital Equipment Corporation said:

"There is no reason for anyone to have a computer in his house."

So don't beat yourself up for not being able to predict or prevent tough changing times.

This will only deflate you, and you need to be out there motivating your colleagues.

Understand How Change Affects People and How to Help Them!

2. Keep Your Co-Workers Hopes Alive

Effective change leaders project an optimistic view of the future, even during times of change.

Your colleagues need to know that you believe a better day is coming.

However, you also need to provide a realistic assessment of the obstacles that your organisation must overcome in order to reach that better day.

3. Keep Your Employees Fully Informed

You must keep your employees fully informed.

In downsizing environments, the levels of uncertainty run high amongst employees.

You must reduce their confusion, even if that means sharing some bad news.

As I tell my clients, newsletter readers, and members in my speaking audience, the certainty of misery is better than the misery of uncertainty.

Your employees have the right to know what's happening, why it's happening, and what the next steps will be.

By not sharing information immediately, you're allowing the rumour mill to churn out any number of ridiculous stories that do nothing but increase stress and decrease motivation levels in the workplace.

Devise and Manage a Change Programme so That it Sticks!

4. Tell The Truth

If you try to relieve your employees' misery by saying things will calm down after the reorganisation, you may be heading for trouble if that’s not the truth.

Plus, the next time your organisation announces a change your employees' trust will take a nosedive.

Employees need to be taught how to handle changes, not be told it will soon be over.

5. Reassure Your Employees With Your Presence

Dr Bev Smallwood recently completed a best practices study on those companies dedicated to retaining their best employees.

She discovered that sixty to seventy per cent of employee retention is directly linked to management behaviour.

In particular, managers that spend time with their employees and build relationships tend to keep their employees longer.

If you want to retain your best employees during times of change, you must be visible. In uncertain times, seeing and hearing the leader is important.

Too often managers or leaders only meet with other senior executives, or they disappear behind closed doors.

Employees need to see and hear their bosses. So become accessible and make yourself available for questions.

Learn How to Cope With Change Quickly and Easily!

6. Cut And Simplify The Work

If your organisation has downsized, you probably cut only the workforce and not the workload.

There's a time when "doing more with less" makes a lot of sense, but there's also a time when it's just plain ridiculous.

There comes a point when "doing more with less" is not only impossible, it's absolutely demoralising to keep saying it.

So What Can You Do?

You can't pretend things are the same. You can, however, reorder priorities on a task-by-task basis.

You can cut extraneous tasks, forms, and procedures. You can encourage your associates to take shortcuts in non-critical, routine areas to make time for more important items.

You can also allow your associates to collaborate and figure out how the extra work will be handled.

In fact, the sense of teamwork that comes out of collaboration can be a great motivator.
That's what Ameritech did.

Executives from corporate headquarter travelled from office to office, from department to department, in one city after another.

They queried fieldworkers on the types of reports that are necessary to complete their day-to-day activities.

By listening to their field workers, they were able to cut out 6,000,000 pages of reports that no one needed and no one read.

Understand How Change Affects People and How to Help Them!

Final Thoughts

No one likes to go through change, and no one likes all the sacrifices required by change.

However, you can relieve the misery of uncertainty if you follow the six things you must do to become an effective leader in the midst of change outlined today.

This article was contributed by Dr Alan Zimmerman

Devise and Manage a Change Programme so That it Sticks!

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