A manager’s checklist for leading change in these times
How do you lead change when your people are struggling with personal and work stress due to the health and economic pandemic, and while the closest you can get to them is a stuttered internet meeting with a grainy mug-shot view of them, and their children and dogs?
More than ever, we need to support and understand employees in change so we can make it possible for them to adopt what we have built. Prosci’s research has been clear; as managers, we should play five critical roles;
While doing this for the change, you will also have to contend with guiding them on how to balance work and non-work life, support them in following safe social practices, maybe even get them sound financial advice. You could do this via emails, but a far more powerful way is to, wherever possible, use video chats/calls. Fortunately, we have a selection of platforms to use. What we have found is that you probably want to use at least two with anyone, so there is a choice. For prolonged, more complex interactions where you may need to share documents etc. you could use one of the webinar/meeting platforms whereas for a more ‘instant’ platform, those designed with handheld devices in mind could be better.
The prospect of extended conversation threads with multiple employees over an extended time can be quite daunting. If we add to this large spans of control (many employees per manager), we find a need to hold more group meetings than would typically be the case in the classic office setting.
Of course, you would be doing all of this while personally trying to cope with the change. We all need help in these times and we, as leaders, should not hesitate to call for it from our leaders. So, top of the list; look after yourself first, preserve mental and physical strength to build the resilience to lead your people. Also, if you have misgivings for the change you are asked to make with your people, this issue needs to be dealt with and resolved with your leader. People can pick up quite quickly a situation where a leader is not in full support of the change, and it will be more difficult for you to gauge their level of support for the change as you do not have a direct line of sight to how they behave while at work.