The Importance of Managing a Team Through Change (Plus Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 24 November 2022

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Change is an inevitable part of life, and it's an inevitable part of business, too. As a company grows, changes such as new leadership, new rules or new ownership can all have a significant impact on the way managers and staff work. Successfully leading a team through change is an important task when managing a team to maintain efficient workflow. In this article, we discuss the importance of team management, provide nine tips you can use for managing a team through change and look at the changes your team may go through.

Related: Top 9 Leadership Skills to Develop

The importance of managing a team through change

Managing a team through change is important to make your team members feel comfortable, understand the work they do and feel supported during times of change. Showing support can help maintain morale, collaboration and trust between you and your team. Having effective leadership is also important during changes to help ensure that your team feels confident with the occurring changes and addresses any worries they may have. In addition, leading your team through a significant change can help them adjust better, which could result in recognition of your hard work and potential rewards.

Related: 10 Good Manager Qualities That Help Teams Succeed

Why changes might occur

Before you can effectively lead your team members through a company transition, consider why these changes are occurring. Review any urgent changes that may happen regarding the business market, customer base and product output. Here are the most common reasons changes may occur:

  • implementation of new technology or software

  • mergers and acquisitions

  • new leadership

  • updates to organisational culture

  • relocation

Tips for being successful during change

Preparing for changes that may occur can help mitigate employee confusion, delays and stress. Knowing how to plan successfully for transitions can help you maintain a positive rapport with team members and other staff. Here are tips you can use to help you be successful during changes and maintain an efficient team:

1. Ensure that your leadership is strong before any change

Even before a change is due to happen within the company, possessing strong leadership skills can help your team members feel confident and comfortable under your leadership. Before any large change, assess your management style and change how you're working so that your team feels supported and included at all times. Consider opting for a democratic leadership style, where you make decisions based on what the majority of the team thinks. Listening to your team about how they want to operate through this change can ensure a smooth transition where everyone's opinion feels valued.

Related: Successfully Managing a Team: 10 Strategies You Can Use

2. Consider using outside help

If you're trying to prepare for a massive company-wide change, consider seeking outside help, such as a consultant who specialises in transitions. They can give you and your team valuable advice on how to prepare for a large and potentially difficult change. They can also identify any potential challenges that may happen during this change and then suggest ways that you and your team can overcome them in the best way possible.

3. Create a detailed plan

Once you find out that a change within the company is going to occur, consider consulting with your fellow team leaders to discuss a plan of action. In this plan, define the change that is going to happen, how it may affect output or employees' productivity and how you can best help them adapt to the change. Also, clearly define a set of short-term goals you want to achieve during this change and a set of long-term goals to help keep you and your team focused during the period of transition.

In addition, you may also keep organised with a detailed plan of when changes are going to happen, such as organisational charts, to ensure the success of your team. Also, try using online tools and to-do lists to stay up-to-date and keep on top of future changes.

4. Keep your team informed at all times

If a significant change is occurring, that may affect employees' working lives, try informing them as soon as you know. Not only does this prevent them from feeling you're keeping important information from them, but it helps them to adjust more quickly. Hold regular meetings with your team members to discuss these changes and allow each person time to discuss their own concerns in a safe space. Regular contact with your team members may also make them feel more comfortable and supported and can help to ensure a smooth transition.

5. Provide resources

If the change is going to significantly impact how employees work on a day-to-day basis, providing them with resources could help them feel more informed and less stressed about the transition. For example, if your company is merging or being bought, provide your team with information about the new company. Try explaining the new goals and how this may affect their daily work. If the company is planning to switch its own goals and aims, provide employees with any necessary information and training that they might need to succeed.

6. Prioritise important tasks

Once team members are aware of the changes that are going to occur, try helping them understand their role in the transition. Prepare your team and prioritise the tasks that require completion during this change. Understanding what they may require for a smooth transition or what new skills they may benefit from learning can also help you plan tasks efficiently. Start with the most important tasks, such as letting clients know about any changes that are being made and how this might alter their dealings with the company.

7. Give your team members the support they need

Providing your team members with support throughout the transition can help them feel less stressed and anxious. Determining what help they may need, how long to provide this help and the space necessary can create an efficient workspace during this transition. For example, if productivity levels drop because of this change, encourage employees to take regular breaks, give them time to adjust to the change and even refer them to specialists to help them talk openly about any of their anxieties.

8. Take time for yourself

Taking time for yourself can help you effectively manage your team and maintain a good working relationship with staff. If you're struggling with the changes, or are unsure of how to best manage your team through change, speak to a colleague or a superior, or seek advice from a consultant who specialises in transitions. Consider ways you can use your time to relax and restore your mental or physical health to prepare yourself for returning to work.

9. Celebrate successes

Celebrating small wins and successes, such as rewarding employees for the work they have completed during this time, may help them feel valued and appreciated. Creating ways to highlight this can also help build positive teamwork and increase productivity. Also, discuss individual and team improvements during meetings to show you're aware of their efforts. Acknowledging their continued success during change can help maintain staff morale.

What to avoid during change

To ensure that you, your team and your company succeed through change, here are a few things to avoid doing:

Completing everything yourself

Change is difficult for all involved, but that doesn't mean that you take on all the work yourself to avoid causing your team members stress. Be sure to delegate the duties to your team members according to their qualifications and skills. Consider the task, the time needed to complete it and who might be the best member to complete the project.

Setting unreasonable expectations

Consider the workload you and your team have and set reasonable deadlines. You don't want to apply unrealistic expectations to your team members, as this can cause unnecessary stress and resentment. Set your team members reasonable challenges, but give them room to make mistakes.

Asking employees to do anything that you wouldn't do yourself

Although you may occasionally ask your employees to work a few extra hours or change their work schedule to adhere to the change, consider keeping a balanced work-life schedule. Approach the period of transition with reasonable expectations of your staff. Ensure that they have regular breaks and take time off when they need it the most.

Related:

  • What is managing employees? (Tips and best practices)

  • 7 tips for identifying and managing toxic employees at work

  • How much do managing directors make?

  • A comprehensive guide to managing difficult employees


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