Leading your team through another transition has plenty of leaders and teams facing yet another big challenge as we move into the Spring season.
Pandemic restrictions are lifting and tons of workers are heading back into the office environment. While some might be excited and hopeful, there might be others who are experiencing worry and uncertainty. Transitions are always difficult even if they are painted in a positive light. Team leaders need to prepare for these challenges and be proactive in supporting their teams.
Whether it is planned or out of the blue, going through change is inevitable but when you are prepared, it will be easier to lead your team through the transition.
In this blog we’ll be sharing some tips for leaders and how they can navigate this time of change for their team as well as what to avoid during transition periods.
Be considerate of your team
It’s important to always be considerate of others and their perspective. The transition of going back into the office might be harder for some more than others. Be considerate of any professional or personal challenges they might be dealing with as well. Remember the way someone responds to us, usually has nothing to do with us.
Focus on psychological safety
As a leader, it is part of your job to make sure your team feels comfortable and safe coming into the workplace. Create an environment where each person is heard when solving problems. Workplace happiness is driven by team members feeling supported and feeling like their opinion matters.
Your team needs to feel they can freely contribute. Remember to embrace the strengths and weaknesses collectively and individually on the team. When employees feel safe, they will thrive.
When you learn about yourself and the differences between you and your team members, you’ll form stronger bonds and help everyone overcome challenges.
Leading your team requires balanced communication
Connect one on one with people on your team. There is nothing better than connecting face to face. The virtual group meetings we’ve been subjected to for the past couple of years give us a false sense of connection. Take the time and effort to create real authentic connections with your team.
Keep the lines of communication open and involve employees in the change process. When employees feel involved and heard they’ll be more likely to get on board. They should have the chance to share their concerns, suggestions, and ideas throughout the transition period.
Keep in mind different team members will need different levels of communication. Find the right balance between too much communication and not enough communication. What works for one team member might not work for the other!
As a leader, you’ll also need to find the right mix of face to face conversations, phone calls, and emails.
Self-care is an important part of being a good leader and showing up for your team.
Setting healthy boundaries to support work goals you want to achieve means you are putting your personal needs first and taking care of yourself.
When you are vulnerable and honest, your team will be more inclined to do the same which in turn supports a psychologically safe workspace. If teams feel they cannot be upfront, they’ll be more likely to burn out.
Something to note, is that self-care does not just mean spending money on spa treatments but it is understanding what your limits are and communicating it with your team. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Create a fun work environment
Work doesn’t need to be boring. Why not have some fun while you’re in the office! Value fun in the workplace. Always look to the lighter side of issues and find a way to use a sense of humor to help you get through challenges.
Empower the people around you. Your team wants the opportunity to step up and help out. Give them encouragement, support, and space to provide value.
Finding solutions can be a great opportunity to get creative. You and your team can use creativity to find a path you might not have even known was possible.
Now that we have shared a few tips for leaders to help during transition periods, we are sharing a few things leaders should avoid when guiding their team through transition.
Don’t set unreasonable expectations
When change involves different managers, departments, or even facilities it can be a slow process. Leaders should approach the transition period with realistic and reasonable expectations when implementing new policies, onboarding staff, or introducing a new service. Don’t set unrealistic objectives for yourself or your team. While it is expected some extra work might be involved during these times, have realistic targets.
Don’t try to do everything by yourself
Acting as a one-man band is not productive! Your team is there for a reason. Delegate tasks to them rather than trying to manage everything on your own. You need to trust that your team will manage their responsibilities and believe they are qualified and capable. Avoid micromanaging during this time. Be available to answer questions and offer support. You should also avoid making all decisions on your own too. Having diverse opinions helps create an inclusive work environment and adds depth to decision-making.
Don’t ask your team to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself
Be mindful of the hours your employees are putting in when adjusting to new processes. Encourage your team to take time off when needed and take breaks. This will help avoid burnout. For example, if you won’t be in the office on the weekends, you probably should not expect your team to be in either.
Although change can feel scary, it doesn’t need to be! Leaders are given the power to make it a positive experience for their team. Transition periods are not optional – they are needed to ensure the success of the corporation.
Managing this transition well can also help the business achieve goals.
As Patrick Lencioni mentions in his podcast, “we don’t hate change, we just struggle with the transition”.
At NexLevel, we’re experts in building healthy organizations through cohesive teams and engaged employees. We will help you and your employees become the high-performance team you’ve always wanted to be by focusing on collaboration, creativity, culture, and connection.