COVID-19: Change Management and Leadership During Times of Uncertainty

In Brief

3-Minute Read

Disruption, though challenging, offers leaders an opportunity to transform their organizations with progressive leadership strategies. Equipped with the right resources to proactively respond to change, leaders can forge a more change-ready culture in their organizations, enabling their teams to succeed in uncertain business environments. Below are actions we encourage all leaders to take now to mobilize your teams with an intentional change management strategy:

Communication: Invest in transparent, purposeful messaging.

  • Build an effective messaging framework throughout the organization.
  • Establish diverse methods for receiving and sharing information to promote retention and adherence.
  • Use livestreaming, video conferencing and collaboration software such as Teams, Zoom and Slack to stay connected with staff working remotely.
  • Ensure communication is clear, consistent and easily accessible to all.
  • Start with explaining the “why” behind new changes, followed by the “what” and “how” of your change management strategy.

Engagement: Foster an environment of teamwork and collaboration.

  • Solidify purposeful, transparent and timely rounding for honest feedback.
  • Increase rounding frequency to ensure all team members see you role model strong engagement and collaboration behaviors as a leader.
  • Ensure you are consistently available to answer your team’s questions and offer support when needed.
  • Align performance expectations to avoid losing momentum on the work ahead.
  • Empower high performers to become innovative and adaptable in tackling unconventional challenges.
  • Set clear expectations with low performers on how to manage their current workload. Pair them with high performers to create greater impact.

Adaptability: Leverage data to create innovative and informed solutions.

  • Examine relevant business data to determine the most critical changes needed to improve your team’s performance.
  • Seek out emerging patterns and create new solutions that make your teams even more productive than before the pandemic.
  • Remain objective in analyzing data and communicating results.
  • Resist comparing against normalized performance and reject the urge to “get back to normal” or compromise with a short-term “backup plan.”

Resilience: Generate energy to endure the short term.

  • Examine failures for what went wrong and determine how you will correct it next time.
  • Maintain consistent communication with your team as to what is working and what needs to be adjusted.
  • Preserve a relentless loyalty to your mission and vision. Keep yourself and your teams on track by emphasizing the “why.”
  • Acknowledge when team members are excelling in developing new strengths.
  • Go over lessons learned each day and have team members share what they learned and what they will change or maintain.

Ambitious pursuit: Drive innovation to promote higher performance.

  • Engage your team members with a compelling purpose, motivating them to stay the course, however uncertain.
  • Mobilize your team around what opportunities the disruptive environment can bring. Urge team members to strive for excellence.
  • Encourage team members to present new ideas for performing at a higher level.
  • Reward team members for improved performance to create camaraderie and greater individual confidence.

For more information, contact us or visit our COVID-19 resources page.

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