Five ways to lead your team through transition

Transition or change, they say, is the only constant. No matter how small the transition, such as changing an office location or big a change, as in the case of a merger and acquisition (M&A) or restructuring, people are expected to accept it in order to continue surviving in the professional world.

It is the responsibility of a good leader to make such transitions less painful for his or her subordinates, and Mahima Puri offers suggestions on how you can do it.

1. Understand the Impact
A leader has to understand how the transition will impact his employees. “A transition is best treated almost as if it is the creation of an enterprise from scratch,” says NS Rajan, partner & global leader – people and organisation, Ernst & Young.

“A leader must visit the fundamentals anew. The first 100 days are very critical in laying the foundation for a beneficial situation,” he adds. “It is important to realise how many people a transition will impact in the short term and long run,” adds P Dwarkanath, director – group human capital, Max India.

2. Talk to the Team
Perhaps the best way to deal with transition is to communicate at every stage. “Where there is an element of surprise, people start looking at change as a threat, rather than an opportunity,” says Dwarkanath.

“Wherever possible, people need to be informed of the change prior to when it happens,” he adds.

3. Sensitise People
Involving and empowering people are effective ways to handle the change. “Ask for suggestions and feedback from employees on a certain transition wherever possible,” says Dwarakanath.

The awareness will make them less resistant. “A leader may also align incentives to support the transition,” adds Rajan.

4. Lead by Example
The leader has to first embrace change, before he or she expects it from the team. The faster a leader does so, the more confident the team will feel.

“Once the transition is in progress, a leader can align those who are responding well and form alliances. This may help others”. Also, reassure your team members and address their concerns or doubts, wherever required.

5. Be proactive
Employees must understand that early acceptance allows them to get noticed as an agent of change. “An employee should try and find opportunities during transition. This could mean meeting the new leaders, allowing them to recognize their capabilities and building credibility for them on an accelerated basis,” says Rajan.

Putting the organization first also helps. “Accept that organization is the hero and every transition that is being done by the senior leaders is for its benefit,” says Dwarakanath.

Source: Economic Times

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