Middle managers need to get a handle on change and find ways to participate in the change discussion and motivate their teams during times of uncertainty.
A few thoughts that have helped me and my staff through my career.
The best antidote to these issues I have found is to encourage a feeling of respect. Firstly, a respect for ideas. Both ideas from the top but also ideas generated from the bottom up. Communication channels need to be open and during the period of change increased. As a manager I found communication became my key role instituting a range of additional ways to inform, get feedback and initiate debate with such examples as weekly team notes (even if the note said nothing to report) increased visibility (walking the floor) and frequent ad hoc meetings. This helped staff express concerns but also informally explore new ideas and how they might be part of the future.
Secondly, a respect for people’s feelings. The lack of security for individuals is a major threat that impacts on emotions as well as performance. To acknowledge this as a leader gives a chance for individuals to vent and express their concerns rather than bury them or only use the unofficial grape vine to share rumours. A sense of pace for the change is important, enough to gain momentum and start to see a difference but enough time and space to help individuals (and teams) deal with the emotion of change.
For some it will be very difficult to cope and your coaching skills helping staff face the new reality can go a long way to bring people on board. The staff who adapt early can also be good champions for the change and can be used to support their more resistant peers often in a ways more acceptable, than when management intervene.
Change never stops
If you would like to develop your change management skills, why not join my next Managing Change workshop on 24th October 2016. To find out more, or to book, click here.