3 Tips to Lead Through Change
One of the most challenging aspects of leadership is knowing how to lead through change. People don’t fear change, they fear loss. Most people don’t want to change because they don’t want to leave what is familiar. Being familiar with something is not an automatic negative. In fact, knowing what to expect creates security. However, change is a necessary part of growth. And as William S. Burroughs said, “When you stop growing you start dying.” So, in this blog post and corresponding episode of The WealthBuilders Podcast, I offer three tips to help you lead through change.
1. Build Trust Through Effective Communication
In order to lead through change well, you will need to build trust with your people. The most effective communication starts with listening. There are two kinds of change: forced change and proactive change. You can’t control or predict forced change. So, it requires a different rulebook than proactive change (change that you plan and direct.) As a leader, there are a lot of ways to be smart about proactive change.
First and foremost, you should try to communicate the change in small portions as soon as you know it’s a possibility. Don’t introduce a change for the first time after you’ve already decided to move forward with it. Instead, communicate the change using phrases such as “We are thinking about going this direction” or, “we’ve been considering implementing ____ into the organization.” This is a wise listening strategy. When you communicate change as a possibility rather than a definitive, it gives you the opportunity to gauge people’s responses and determine their stance on the change.
Pastors often make the major mistake of announcing a major change for the first time from the pulpit. When you announce a big change, it should never surprise your internal team, and it should rarely surprise the people you serve.
2. Maintain Integrity
When questionable decisions for financial gain or personal benefit are made, the people in your organization need to know the whole story. People must be confident that the changes you make are for the good of the organization and the good of the team. When a change occurs, it’s crucial that it is made from a place of self-centered gain. If you make decisions for the good of the group, then God will pull you up. True vulnerability in leadership will win people’s hearts quicker than anything else.
3. Give Ongoing Feedback
Constructive criticism is just as important as positive feedback. If someone is not measuring up in an area, you must give them honest and straightforward professional feedback without personal criticism. During seasons of change, it’s important to maintain perspective without passing judgement. It helps to structure your feedback in a way such as, “I’ve noticed ____ is happening. Can you explain your approach to _____ so that I can better understand what’s going on?”
The longer you wait to give constructive criticism, the more challenging it will become. Waiting transforms what was once an easily manageable situation into a difficult problem. One of the key elements to giving feedback is to create an environment where people can improve. This improvement shouldn’t be limited to their job; rather, it should provide opportunities for personal growth in their own life.
If you aren’t growing as a leader, it’s hard to lead improvement on your team. There are ways to pursue personal growth alongside your team, such as going through a book together. Sometimes, the book will discuss and confront things that you would want to address with your team anyway. Oftentimes, the lesson is received better through a book!
I hope you found these tips on how to lead through change helpful. If you want to learn more about how to apply practical, biblical wisdom as a leader, we created The WealthBuilders Business Development and Nonprofit Workshop just for you! You’re invited to join us August 19-21 in Denver, Colorado. Click here to learn more.