Do you know how you will get your business to the place you want it to be? Before that: do you have a good idea of where you want to go with your organisation? An effective leader should have a good understanding of where their business is going, and an overview of the steps to get there. Most importantly, they should be able to communicate that future and the plan in a convincing way to take their team with them.
It will probably mean taking some tough decisions along the way. Employees are traditionally resistant to change, and when you change job functions, promote some staff and not others, or shake up the structure of your company, you risk some dissenting voices. Why? Because we become accustomed to the routine of our jobs – they provide us with security, and crucially, we know how to do them well.
It is for this reason that change in a business might not have many fans to begin with. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, might be the prevailing attitude in the ranks, and if you fail to explain the reasons for changes, you risk alienation in some quarters of your organisation.
Sharing your vision, where your company is going and why you are making the journey is the main function of a leader. If employees see changes such as a structural reorganisation, job role switch, or change to business practices as the first step in a general direction – they can be more willing to accept it. Particularly if they can see what is in it for them, going forward.
Meetings to canvas opinion are an essential part of making changes. If you ask somebody what they think about a certain change, gauge the reaction – do they take it as a positive or appear resentful? Sometimes, changes will have to be made regardless of the views of employees, but asking for their views certainly cannot do any harm and allows you to make more educated judgments. Is there any way that you could get them involved in defining the changes? They probably know something that you don’t which means that they may come up with a more effective route forward.
Often, it is simply a matter of time. Once employees get their feet under the table in a new role, become accustomed to carrying out new duties, or begin working with a new person, they simply adapt and get on with the job. You might even find that in the end, they are glad changes were made, although whether they admit this to you is another matter!
If you need to take your business in a new direction but you’re struggling to implement change or deal with employee conflict, contact us at St Andrews Consulting today: The St Andrews Highway can help.