How to Make a Leadership Change a Smooth and Easy Transition
We’ve all been in working scenarios where leadership changes happened. Whether it’s because of a retirement or a merger, the difference in leadership can cause uncertainty among employees. The feeling of insecurity this can generate can be disastrous for projects, teams and the incoming leaders.
How management deals with the transfer is a critical element in how the rest of the company accepts the new leadership. By making the transition easier on employees, leaders help improve buy-in on new processes, as well as help team members feel that the company cares about them — something highly important to retention.
How Leadership Changes Effect Everyone
Any type of changes in leadership can effect everyone differently. Whether it’s on a sports team, in a business or even at home, it’s likely to have a different ‘daily tasks’ and ’emotional’ influence for everyone. The same holds true for how we look at influencer marketers and business owners in the world today. Once a new change comes into effect at any big company or organization, we are all quick to provide our own opinions on how it will play out.
With everyone always having their own thoughts and experiences, we thought it would be a great idea to ask the experts for their optinion. We hand selected entrepreneurs from YEC to share several techniques management can implement to ease a transition in leadership.
Here’s what they had to say.
1. Keep Employees in the Loop
The best approach management can use to make a transition period easier is to brief the employees about everything that is happening and how things will or will not change in the company. Employees like to be taken into account, and if things go well or not so well during the transition period, they will be happy that they were informed of everything and that their opinions were taken into account.
– Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME
2. Enable Gradual Change
Leadership changes can often cause confusion and stress within a company. If you want to make the process easier for your team, make your changes gradually. For example, if you plan on promoting from within the company, train in small increments so that employees and your new manager feel comfortable in their position.
– Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
3. Open the Floor to Questions
When making any substantial change to your business, the last thing you want is for people to spread rumors. As soon as you can announce the transition in leadership, I recommend doing so and opening up the floor to questions from any employees. Clear communication like this will prevent any undue stress or unfounded gossip from spreading, which can be disastrous to company morale.
– Bryce Welker, The Big 4 Accounting Firms
4. Emphasize Unity
It can be overwhelming and even a little daunting to think about a shift in management, but it’s important to welcome the newcomer so they feel comfortable being the new leader. Talk to your team beforehand and let them know what’s going on before anyone else has the chance to. Emphasize welcoming new management and tell them what they can expect in the upcoming weeks or months.
5. Ensure Transparency
I’ve had a recent change in leadership at my company, and have found that transparency with the process has helped both the employees, as well as the incoming and outgoing leadership role. This has allowed everyone time to adjust and get comfortable with the changes, while asking questions and providing helpful input and feedback, making them feel involved and supported in the process.
– Rachel Beider, PRESS Modern Massage
6. Treat Everyone like a Person and Not a Number
I think one of the worst things that can happen when a new leader steps in, is for individuals and teams within the organization to start feeling like numbers and no longer part of the team. This often happens in much larger companies with hundreds of employees and staff, but it can still happen in smaller groups as well. No matter the size, this type of impression and treatment during a leadership change can quickly turn things sour.
7. Involve All Staff
Everyone working needs to know about the changes in leadership or development. Host regular meetings that involve all of your employees and staff to notify them. Then everyone hears the facts and will have answers to their potential questions. Also, they will appreciate that management treats them with respect and honesty about potential uncertainties. Respect goes a long way to ease any concerns.
– Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.
8. Give Time for Productivity to Resume
Leadership transitions can be difficult to manage. During such change, giving time for normal productivity to resume is important. This takes the pressure off your employees who are coping with new faces and roles. Once everyone is settled in, productivity should resume. If it takes longer than 90 days for things to settle, there may be something else that needs to be addressed.
9. Hold One-on-One Meetings
A new manager will flourish if they have a good idea of what they’re walking into. Many managers come in too strong when they start at a new company and this can be intimidating for many employees. By setting up some one-on-one time with each of the key team members and the new hire, the manager and the team will be able to get a better measure of each other. This will help quell any uncertainty.
– Ismael Wrixen, FE International
10. Include the New Leader Early on
If a new manager is coming on board, make them part of the work process as early as possible. Have them come in, shadow you and work alongside you until it’s officially their turn to take over. That way, they meet the team, familiarize themselves with the company, and feel more comfortable in that space.
– Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
11. Embrace Empathy and Storytelling
In times of change, you must take time to understand the impact of the transition. Seek out a diversity of stakeholder opinions and listen for what is needed to remove friction. Embrace storytelling as the most powerful tool for inspiring confidence and shaping action. It’s an opportunity to not just provide clarity, but to help the organization make sense of what is to come. – Ryan Stoner, Phenomenon
12. Introduce the New Exec Before the Transition
Productivity and commitment are at risk when employees are uncertain of a company’s leadership and future. If there is no business reason to keep the changes private, it’s better to introduce a new leader to employees as soon as possible. Help them understand that they’re in safe hands and what the changes mean for them and their role in the company.
13. Instill Confidence in the New Leadership
The best thing you can do is instill confidence in the new leadership right away. The handing over of the mantle is very important. Years of trust building can be saved and potential conflict avoided by having someone who is already respected enthusiastically support the new leadership without reservation.
14. Provide Extra Training
When there’s a transition in the workplace, some employees may have to learn new processes or skills. So, it’s important that you provide extra training to your team. By training or retraining them for the transition, you’ll give them all of the skills and resources they need to be successful with the change.
What Makes a Great Thought Leader Great?
When looking at different thought leaders and entrepreneurs in the world today, what makes some of them great, while others are just mediocre?
Often times, it’s more than just the success and business aspect of things. It’s also how they deal with situations on a daily basis, and how other people around them feel.
Infleuncer marketing can also be looked at in the same way. Why are some influencers more popular than others? Again, this all comes down to preference and who you want to follow.
Keeping all of these considerations in mind, whenever you come across a new business leader or change within your organization, don’t make a first impression based on what you heard–but instead the first impression that you actually experience.