So, when you’re leading a team where most people likely believe the longer we do the same thing, the better it becomes, how do you overcome that mentality to create a more progressive business?
Your team must trust you and your plan for change to be accepted. If your team questions your intentions for them or the business, you’re at a bad starting point. To avoid a feeling of mistrust, talk with your team – help them understand why change is needed and how it will directly impact them. When your employees have a better understanding of what is to come and how their role is vital in the change, they are more likely to have your back long term.
What is known is comfortable – even if it doesn’t work all the time, or get the best results – there is a comfort level of “this is how we’ve always done it.” When change is implemented, expect your employees to have a fear of failure. One way to overcome that fear is to make sure adequate training is available on any new equipment, policies or systems. It can also be helpful to show how the new way of doing things has worked for other companies.
When employees feel change is being brought on suddenly and without warning, they begin to fear a hidden agenda. Will there be lay-offs? Will I be asked to do more for the same pay? Again, this is why a strategic, well timed plan is needed. If your team is aware of the upcoming change, has a strong understanding of what will take place and how the change will create a positive impact on the company, they’ll be much more comfortable with the idea of new happenings.
Finally, the seasoned employees may recall a bad experience or failure of the last change that was to be implemented. Perhaps that was even before your time with the company, but you’re still going to have to battle the resistance. When you’re able to explain specifically how the changes will affect the company and employees immediately, in the short term and for the long haul, you’ll have a stronger chance at gaining support.
Any widespread changes in the workplace can cause employees to fear for their roles in the company. For this reason, a well thought out plan should be in place to introduce employees to the upcoming change, explain how they will be affected and the reward expected when the change ensues. Mistrust from your team will be the curse of an otherwise well planned change initiative. Take the time to make sure employees are trained in all needed facets and know what to expect. When team members feel confident and prepared for the future, they’ll be more supportive of the impending change.