The proverbial may flowers seem to be popping up all over the place over at the Mayberg Foundation. With the holiday season behind us, we have three new team members that have joined us, adding capacity, talent and yes…. a bit of chaos. A few minor missteps on my part have given me a healthy reminder that I’d thought I’d pass along to you.
Those of us in leadership positions tend to thrive on growth and change. We see possibilities. We envision what comes next. Change keeps our attention. It’s easy to forget how difficult change can be for many of our team members. There’s always a balance between wanting to keep people reaching for the stars while also feeling like they’re standing on stabile ground. Organizational change of any kind can be destabilizing for many employees, which in turn can be damaging for organizations. You’ve got a little work to do here.
It’s important to remember that especially for relatively small teams, every personnel change impacts the composition of the whole team. From your chair you might see that “we added a new person in accounting,” but others may be seeing that same change as “who will approve my work orders now?” or “things are changing around here!” Though usually more resilient than we give them credit for in the long run, human beings are…. well… human beings. When the reality on the ground starts to feel like it’s shifting beneath our feet, any one of us can get overwhelmed, insecure, territorial, resentful or confused. Times of change are a great opportunity to emphasize the support part of my oft repeated “structure+support+accountability” formula.
A few things you need to do today:
- Give assurance: People you value need to be explicitly told that you value them and why.
- Communicate: Little changes in structure (e.g. new meeting times) should be communicated with clarity.
- Listen: Open ended questions probing how people are doing will help you uncover and deal with potential problems that may be simmering on the back burner.
- Enlist help: reliable others on the team who are official or de facto leaders can sometimes be in a better position than you to uncover and resolve emerging issues. You don’t have to — and really you cannot — do this alone.
Change can be a great thing, but it can also be quite hard. Remember that above all, we are in the people business. Be patient with your team members and with yourself. Tend to the people and the rest will come together.