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HOW TO LEAD DURING TIMES OF CHANGE

 July 15, 2021   By Living As A Leader

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Leadership Advice for New Grads

The rules are changing –– again. As we approach a post-pandemic world of work, a hazy picture is coming into focus for the next phase. For some that means continued work from home or continued in-person roles, for others a full return to the office is on the horizon and another category will transition to hybrid work.   

Change brings with it lots of things: fear, excitement, stress, as well as opportunity. In one of our workshops, we explore the dynamics of change, discuss resistance and identify how leaders can be better at helping themselves and others navigate through change as effectively and efficiently as possible. Here are the foundations of how leaders can help their team through change, especially in these disruptive times. 

Expect resistance

Leaders must, in fact, expect resistance. So often, leaders respond to resistance with intolerance, impatience and frustration. That will slow down others’ acceptance to change. Rather, by acknowledging and addressing resistance early and often, the leader will help increase the likelihood of readiness for and acceptance to change. Employees want to feel acknowledged and understood. In the next section, we will look at the work of William Bridges on the cycle of emotions sparked by change. 

Understand transitions

When something changes, it marks an ending of the old way. It’s not unlike dealing with the loss of a loved one or a prized possession. On the opposite side is the desired destination – the new beginning. In between is a gap. Sometimes the journey is quick. Sometimes we get stuck, unable to let go of the past. And other times we find ourselves unsure whether we want to return to the old or embrace the new. This model provides us with a framework for understanding the ways that people respond to change. 

Meet people where they are

Leaders need to show tolerance and to ask for tolerance during this period. It’s important to meet people where they are so you can help them move toward acceptance of the change and so that you can support their journey. 

The most important thing for leaders to remember is that change will take time to understand, accept or embrace. It doesn’t happen all at once. Recognizing the stages will help a leader understand, shape and support the journey for their team – whatever it may look like.

 

 

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