The waves of change are so rapid, that it is imperative that organizations make changes quickly.
With Covid showing us how vulnerable our businesses can be, without leveraging digital ways of work and raising productivity, the need for change is CRITICAL.
And yet, the speed of change does depend on how we lead the team to change, and the team themselves.
Are they ready for the shifts, or do they dig their heels into mud, and say…
“What we are doing works. Why change?”
“This is extra hours, and extra work. Why is this necessary?”
“I am willing to change, but my other teammates are not changing at all!”
Here’s to leaders learning the skills of coaching to enable change.
Coaching employees to take initiatives for change can be a challenging but rewarding task.
Here are some of my suggestions:
- Set a clear vision: Start by communicating a clear vision for the organization or team. Make sure your employees understand the direction you want to go and the outcomes you hope to achieve. This can help them understand how their ideas and initiatives can contribute to the overall success of the organization. Drawing the bigger picture, will give your team an inspired view of what the business can be, and how they participate in it.
- Create a culture of trust: Build a culture where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and perspectives without fear of criticism or negative consequences. Encourage open communication and provide feedback that is constructive and supportive. As you encourage innovation and risk taking, remember you are enabling a culture where mistakes can be learnt from, not feared.
- Foster ownership: Give your employees a sense of ownership over their work and encourage them to take responsibility for their ideas and initiatives. Let them know that they have the power to make a difference and that their contributions are valued. Enabling the ownership, comes from the inclusion and buying-in of ideas and initiatives. Avoid the top-down approach, and listen patiently to the thoughts and ideas of your employees before implementing your change initiatives.
- Encourage collaboration: Encourage collaboration among employees, both within and across teams. This can help generate new ideas and perspectives and build a sense of camaraderie. Some teams behave in silos and operate solely in their departments. While this is nice, and avoids cross team issues, this will mean that your change will be limited to a department or unit. Encouraging collaboration will require a strong leader to enable the rules of engagement among teams, and be firm with the vision. At times, you will need external help or a coach in doing this.
- Provide resources: Provide your employees with the resources they need to implement their ideas and initiatives. This could include training, access to tools and technology, and funding. This is the difference between delegation and abdication. Delegating effectively, means that we ensure that teams & managers have the means and resources to perform their duties. Abdication means that we are leaving employees to scour for their own resources, and their efforts could be meaningless, and demotivating when they don’t succeed.
- Recognize and reward success: Celebrate successes and recognize employees who take initiative and drive change. This can motivate others to do the same and help build a culture of innovation. Rewards are not always monetary rewards. Employees, being human beings, want to be recognized and appreciated for the effort that they put into driving the change. You may say, “But… that is their jobs anyway. That’s what I pay them for.” As a leader saying thank you, and being appreciative goes a long way, in inspiring your employees to want to go that extra mile with you.
- Lead by example: Finally, lead by example. Model the behaviour you want to see in your employees by taking risks, being open to new ideas, and demonstrating a willingness to change. If you are not walking the walk, and inconsistent with your messages to the team, this can cause confusion. I always say this to leaders, “What you say and DON’T say, can be equally loud. What you do, and the Actions you take, matter more.”
Change is not overnight. The bigger the organization, the more time change will take.
Being patient with the team, and observing the small wins will help you move forward.
After all, Rome was not built in one day. It is the small wins that will eventually make up the big win.