Surviving Your New Leadership Role- Dealing with the Team’s Fears

Starting a leadership role with a new company or becoming a first-time leader can be as exciting as it can be challenging.

Many new managers enter situations where the old-ways linger, and where there is little or no motivation to change. However, as new managers in charge we may be asked to increase performance or productivity. What can we do when we are responsible for improved results, but the culture of the company isn’t ready for change?

When teams go through change they need to adjust. Just as we adjust to becoming new leaders, the team needs to adjust to your new role. Understanding this fear and responding to alleviate it appropriately can help foster a culture conducive to change.

Team members’ uncertainty about the future keeps them from feeling vested in change. If they don’t know what the future will bring, they will fear it. Let’s face it, it feels safer and comfortable to keep things the same. For most people, it is better to resist change than to venture into the unknown.

Our first step towards facilitating change is to build engagement. As you know, motivating teams is hard enough. To motivate them to change is even harder. You’ll need to start by removing obstacles such as fear of the unknown. Develop a communication strategy that helps your team understand what to expect during the change period. Clarify what is expected of them and what they are accountable for. These steps will be a start to building engagement.

You’ll be wise to include your team in the development process where appropriate, so they understand their needs are being heard, and that their opinions have been taken into consideration. Once you build a system of communication and fair accountability, build checkpoints to evaluate progress and monitor staff engagement. Taking these steps to alleviate the teams fears will create an environment that can foster growth and positive change.