It was Benjamin Franklin who said that nothing in this world is certain except death or taxes. But in reality, we should really add change to that list. As everyone knows, change is inevitable and unavoidable. It can be a scary process, but it can lead to life-changing events. Learning to control one’s fear of change and the unknown is empowering and can make any transitionary time go more smoothly.
One way I like to manage my team through times of change is to work backwards. Start with a desired outcome. What will it look like? To help visualize, I’ll write out an end goal and share it with my team. Remember, even if a change isn’t initially viewed as positive, it’s your responsibility as a manager to lead your people.
As in many cases, communication is key. That includes any department outside of your immediate group that may indirectly or directly be impacted by whatever change you’re facing. From operations to accounting, it’s important to include everyone and promote an environment of transparency and inclusion. Conflicts can arise unnecessarily when others are left out of the loop.
Fear of Failure
Also, don’t be afraid of failure. Not every plan I’ve had has led to success, but failed plans create the building blocks from which success arises. And that’s the goal, right? To dare greatly in hopes of an even greater payoff. In speaking on change, recognize first what the positive outcomes of this change could be, and express those to your team. This is especially important if parts of the change or steps along the way may seem less than positive.
One reason why I feel like I can be an effective manager through times of change is that I practice servant leadership. Anyone I report to, or anyone who reports to me, knows I have their best interest in mind. If you’re interested in learning more about servant leadership, check out our recent Manage Smarter podcast:
Lastly, I encourage you to think of one thing to change today. It could be small, or it could have a huge impact. Be inclusive, work backwards, and don’t be afraid to fail. Tell me how it goes.