Ahhhh you can remember it now. Your first day as a new leader, spent quietly gazing into your crystal ball, painting for you a roadmap to change. Oh, if it were only that easy, but alas, life is never quite so simple. If you’ve ever wondered how you were going to implement sustainable change in your teams…congratulations…you’re a life member of the fellowship of uncertainty.
Though organizational change is uncertain, here are four ideas to help bring your crystal ball into focus!
COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE
Open and honest dialogue can be a catalyst for building relationships of trust between not only you and your team, but among team members as well. This is especially true when dealing with a certain level of uncertainty for future endeavors as leaders attempt to guide employees through organizational change. A lack of communication can lead to a culturally broken organization in which trust can nearly cease to exist, resulting in rampant negativity as employees dedicate more time to spreading gossip and rumor, than becoming active and productive in helping the organization achieve success. Trust has to be the priority if your organization ever dreams of successfully implementing change, and trust can only be achieved through effective communication that promotes mutual understanding. Create an open door policy and an environment of inclusion in which your team feels comfortable expressing their ideas, including dissenting viewpoints. Trust promotes equity, empowerment, teamwork, and creativity; traits that are absolutely necessary to cultivate change leadership.
PERSONAL AND INDIVIDUAL VISITS
Any great leader will personally visit with each employee in an effort to more fully understand individual perceptions and needs. Each individual is unique, as we are all products of different environments and experiences, resulting in varying perceptions that effect how we each encode and decode information. This deeper understanding of the individual is absolutely crucial to begin the process of breaking down barriers to communication and rebuilding a positive culture. A lack of individual understanding can lead to resentment and animosity, resulting in a lack of feedback, poor relationships, defensiveness, and poor listening skills. Take time now to actively listen and respond to your team.
SHARE AND INSPIRE VISION
No organization will ever thrive if leaders do not enhance employee relationships by sharing a common vision and mission. Therefore one of the most difficult, yet rewarding challenges of leadership is creating and nurturing an organizational culture focused on a common goal. The fruit of this experience is that your organization will become a culture of one; a people of purpose and a culture of excellence. In order to win, organizations must have a positive culture that inspires employees and helps them understand how their goals tie to the overall strategy of the organization. We all need to feel that we belong and that we contribute to a greater cause. We need our work to be meaningful and nothing feels better than to know that success came as a result of our efforts. We as leaders should clearly articulate how employees contribute to our success. Organizations are becoming increasingly aware that positive cultures are critical for overall success and that the mission of the business must be linked to the objectives of its people. Those who find meaning and purpose at work are happier, healthier, and more productive.
I believe that we miss out on some of life’s fullest opportunities because we do not believe in ourselves or what we can become. As leaders, our words can have a powerful impact, exhibiting the ability to either create or destroy. The foundation for success lies in our ability to build and inspire confidence in others. As you focus on employee development, through transparent communication, a culture of innovation, encouragement, education, positivity, and family will develop. We as leaders will be the most effective as we come to realize that our greatest success is measured in how well we have built relationships, and inspired our people to be the best they can be.