How To Successfully Guide Team Members Through Change

If you find yourself faced with a massive (or even minor) change in the workplace, wondering how you'll get buy-in from your team members and move everyone through the change curve successfully, you're not alone. Organizational change doesn't have to be difficult to manage. Leaders are often unprepared or unequipped for guiding teams through these challenges, leading them down a path of confusion and uncertainty. It may ultimately result in resentment if there is inadequate communication along the change' curve.' To be successful, an organization needs leaders who can manage change and implement a strategy that leads to shared goals being reached by everyone.

IRI and the Projections team have had decades of experience helping employers overcome hurdles with employee engagement, closing the communication gap, and creating a positive workplace culture. While we've shared how employers can manage organizational change, along with how to overcome resistance to change, this will exclusively focus on how to successfully guide your team members through change. 

An organization needs leaders who can manage change and implement a strategy that leads to shared goals being reached by everyone. #organizationalchange #managingchange

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The Process of Change

There is a basic change management process that organizational change will follow, whether a transformative change or something that will have less of a dramatic impact on the workplace. The following are guidelines for the process of change.

  1. Preparing for the Change, Motivating Teams: Naturally, the first step in the process of change would be to prepare for it. We've always stressed the importance of a proactive approach in basically everything, especially when it comes to organizational success. The change process is no different. The preparation step should include training your leaders and equipping them with all the knowledge and skills they need to successfully guide team members through change.
  2. Implementing and Managing Change: Naturally, this part of the process goes much more smoothly when your organization has leaders who are confident in their ability to coach employees to high performance, even amidst organizational change. Leaders who can be adaptable, maintain employee engagement, and keep open lines of communication (both amongst themselves and amongst all team members) will see high levels of success.
  3. Reinforcing the Change and Reviewing: The final phase of the change process is reviewing how the change was implemented and reinforcing it. Along with this, it includes empowering your employees with the confidence to maintain the processes and procedures, guidelines, culture, technologies, or strategies that have been updated and/or implemented.

Now that you know the basic process that organizational change follows let's take a deeper look at how to make sure your leaders are prepared and how they can learn to adapt in order to successfully guide team members through change.

guiding teams through change

How Leaders Can Adapt to Change

In a recent article, we shared at length how you can help train your leaders to adapt to a coaching style of leading. You can read more in-depth about that here. To sum it up, it's possible to teach your leaders to learn a new way of, well, being leaders. Many leading styles of the past find supervisors and managers in a "command and control" type of mindset. However, it's essential to help them shift to a different type of managing, one that promotes individual growth, confidence and fosters an environment where employees are engaged and feel supported, heard, respected, and understood.

It's been said that "an old dog can't learn new tricks," but an established front-line manager, supervisor, or even executive-level leader can learn a new way of leading. So often, managers are appointed to that title based on the amount of time they've been in a position or because they are good at their job, rather than the hands-on experience they have exemplifying real leadership skills.

The good news is that training exists that can help shift the "manager" mindset to one of leadership and help empower your leadership team to foster their strengths to move an organization forward. If you want to maintain your union-free status and foster a workplace culture where potential job candidates are actively seeking employment opportunities, you can't turn down or dismiss any opportunities for leadership training

Looking for Opportunities to Build Your Leaders

When was the last time you did an honest review in your own organization? Is it possible that your leaders could use a refresher? Perhaps it's time to take a look at the potential in your most valued employees' skillset to guide them to success.

You need to empower your leaders in order to prepare them and equip them with the skills they need to succeed. This is a key piece to reaching shared business goals, where everyone in an organization, from execs to hourly workers, can succeed. So how do you make sure your managers and supervisors can successfully guide your team members through change? Let's talk about some of the specifics.

Guiding Your Team Members Through Change

The initial question is, how can I successfully guide your team members through change? We've established the actual change process and discussed the importance of both managers and supervisors being equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to drive an organization forward. So, how can you guide your teams through this? It is fairly straightforward. Keeping the change process mentioned above in mind, we will go through some of the steps your organization can take to successfully move through any changes your workplace may face.

The following is a guide of how you can manage your team through change.

  1. Develop the plan to implement change.
  2. Share the upcoming changes to procedures, policies, strategies, etc.
  3. Solicit feedback and be prepared to address it.
  4. Communicate, communicate, communicate through the entirety of the process.
  5. Share the desired outcome and allow for acceptance from team members.
  6. Delegate necessary tasks to those in leadership roles.
  7. Provide any necessary training opportunities to support employees at every level.
  8. Review and reinforce while rewarding and recognizing the team for successfully implementing changes.
guiding through change

Train Your Leaders to Guide Team Members

The bottom line is: you must prepare your workplace to undergo any form of change, and they will be prepared for anything. At IRI, along with our team at Projections, we can't stress the importance of a proactive approach to trained leaders, prioritized open lines of communication, an emphasis on empowering employees to share their voice, and creating an atmosphere where all team members feel heard, valued, respected, and understand why changes are taking place. 

It may seem complicated, but we can help you to break it down and simplify the process to move your business forward. We're here to help you with your organizational difficulties and assist you with the implementation of a positive employee relations strategy that benefits not only the company but empowers employees at every level. When your team members succeed, your organization succeeds. 

A Plan To Equip and Engage Your Leaders

The IRI LEAD Academy provides you with 22 half-day modules in specific content areas designed for maximum engagement. These in-person sessions include a skilled facilitator, participant workbooks, and supporting materials and engage your leaders with role-play scenarios, job aids, videos, self-assessments, and sustainability pieces to create a memorable learning experience. For more information on LEAD Academy leadership training, click here. We'd love to help you take the necessary steps to move your organization forward.

About the Author Walter Orechwa

Walter is IRI's Director of Digital Solutions and founder of UnionProof & A Better Leader. As the creator of Union Proof Certification, Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.