Top Ten Tips for... Supporting Teams through Leadership Change

Top Ten Tips for... Supporting Teams through Leadership Change

In recent times, the UK has seen a huge amount of change and upheaval within the Government, as a third Prime Minister has been appointed in as many months.

Significant change in leadership such as this can have disruptive effects on any organisation, no matter the scale, so here are our Top Ten Tips on how you can help support your team through senior leadership change...

1. Create space for discussion

When a change in senior leadership occurs, it doesn’t matter if it was planned or sudden and unexpected. Either way, your employees are bound to have thoughts and concerns about it. To begin supporting the team through this change, it’s important to create space for your employees to share these concerns – and for you to listen. If you don’t already, why not hold a weekly team meeting or implement regular one-on-one check-ins?

2. Be open and honest

Your senior leadership team can often represent stability to your employees and when this changes, some team members may feel as though their foundations have been shaken up. To help minimise the effects, it’s crucial that you strive to be open and honest with your employees and aim to be as transparent as possible. You may not have all the information yet, but try to share whatever you do know with the team in a straightforward, honest way. This way, you can foster a sense of trust from your employees and also put a stop to any gossip or rumours that may start circulating.

3. Include the whole team

A change to senior leadership can often feel very scary or negative to your employees, and if their work load or job role is also subject to change then productivity and motivation could be negatively impacted. If you can, try to involve your team in the change, particularly if it directly affects their specific job role. By getting everyone involved, you can help give people a sense of ownership over the changes happening in your business. Instead of focusing on the past and what has been ‘lost’, encourage your employees to embrace the change and look at what they can gain in this next chapter.

4. Listen to feedback

Similarly to the points above, having regular communication with your team means you are in a great position to ask them for some feedback. Perhaps they have some insights into how these changes are being handled and they may have suggestions on things you can do to help the whole process run more smoothly. If some great points are being raised then it could be important that you act on the feedback given. Your employees will be grateful to know that not only are they being listened to, but their thoughts and suggestions are actually being taken on board.

5. Practice emotional intelligence

As a leader, striving to practice emotional intelligence is key, but this skill is even more necessary during times of change and upheaval. Research has shown that emotional intelligence influences how effectively employees relate to one another, cope with stress and overcome conflict. It can also positively affect job performance and job satisfaction.

6. Keep staff informed at every step

When big changes take place, particularly at the top of a company, it’s often not a quick process. Even if your leadership changes have already taken place, there may be some teething problems that can make the process feel more drawn out and uncertain for everyone involved. To combat this, it’s important that you continue to communicate with your entire team, every step of the way. By keeping your employees in the loop, even after the fact, you will help make sure that they feel like valued members of the team.

7. Provide training and resources

If this senior leadership change is likely to impact how your employees work on a day-to-day basis, then providing them with resources could help them feel more informed and less stressed about the transition. Furthermore, it could also be a good idea to provide your employees with training opportunities, particularly if the new leadership wishes to introduce new procedures or systems into the business. This will help empower your team and will cement the knowledge that these changes are positive and will allow them to continue to develop and grow.

8. Take time for yourself

If senior leadership changes are taking place within your organisation then it may mean that your own work load has increased. Furthermore, an uncertain environment in the workplace and higher than usual stress levels could be having a negative impact on your mental health. It’s vital that during this time, you are looking after yourself just as well as you are looking after your employees. You won’t be able to ensure the transition runs smoothly if you are absent, distracted or close to burnout – remember to take time for yourself wherever possible.

9. Empower your management team

As above, if your own work load has increased then now may be the perfect time to delegate to the other members of your management team. By trusting your management team to share your responsibilities, you are easing the pressure on yourself while also empowering them to take a step up and help drive forward change. Up-skilling and developing your leaders won’t just benefit you and your organisation, it will also help your whole team feel valued and motivated – as the effect will trickle down and be felt in all areas of the business.

10. Celebrate the wins

Our final tip is to celebrate success and shine a light on any achievements within your team. You may already do this on a regular basis anyway, but in times of uncertainty and change, these successes may have been harder to come by. No matter the achievement, take the opportunity to celebrate the milestone as a team - it will help your employees feel appreciated and valued and will showcase just how resilient your team is.

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