As a leader do you ask more of your team than you are willing to give? Are you pushing people to take on new tasks, work longer hours or accept change? If so, how are you approaching these same situations? The best leaders will do more, go further and embrace change quicker than their team. They lead by example.
Most of us are in a situation where things are constantly changing. We find it uncomfortable and disconcerting. These situations cause us to want to play it safe and stay in the familiar routines we know well, even when we hate them. However, moving forward means going into the unknown and doing new things. If you, as a leader, acknowledge the discomfort of change and then change anyway people will follow you.
Here are five tips for keeping your team moving forward:
- Acknowledge the fear and pain caused by change.
- Listen to concerns.
- Explain the reasons why change is needed and then explain again.
- Go first and go fearlessly.
- Hold people accountable for progress.
If you are willing to hear and acknowledge the concerns of your team they will be more willing to listen to the reasons why things must change. Then when you go first and demonstrate your willingness to do more and do it differently people will follow. It might take them a bit to get on board, but when you move and someone follows the rest will, typically, join in. The fear of being left behind becomes greater than the fear of the unknown. Additionally, if you show that their concerns matter they will be more likely to want to please you so they will do what you expect. It’s hard to disappoint people who care about our success, which means when you care about them they will return the favor.
People are drawn to confidence. When you demonstrate your confidence that the new path is the way of the future it will inspire people to join you. Confidence doesn’t ignore risks or fears; it acknowledges them, addresses them and still moves forward. This will help you move your team forward. Think of it as pull a rope instead of pushing it. People can be pulled with you, however when you push them it will create resistance and they will stop. To pull them forward you must go first and lead by example.