We are living in an unprecedented time of uncertainty and change; organizations and teams are being faced with fast-moving changes like never before. As a leader, you’re facing new challenges, re-prioritizing needs, and handling the responsibility of managing your team through it all. This emotional process can feel personal and overwhelming. Learning to understand the human process is important – it can help you manage your emotions and find ways to cope to stay healthy, focused, and productive.
Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge that although you’re a leader, you’re also human. We must recognize that everyone has been feeling a level of uncertainty and anxiety for some time now. Whether you’re trying to support your team, family, friends, neighbors, or anyone else through this global change — know that we are all in this together.
Secondly, your employees have been, and will continue to, experience a range of emotions during this time. By learning to recognize and identify what they are experiencing, you can best support them both emotionally and psychologically.
And finally, as a leader, you play a role in helping your teams cope and navigate through this period of uncertainty. It is important to understand where your team is before you can help them cope and adjust. Your support and leadership can be an important signal in helping your teams through this time of change.
Adjusting to change is emotional and learning ways to cope with it is important.
It’s not the change itself, but the process of adjusting to the change that can be emotional. Learning to recognize the emotional and psychological experiences of your team will help you make the right adjustments to lead them through this period of uncertainty. The model below is a way to understand the emotional process, and the things you can do as a leader to help them through this.
Click on the plus signs in the graphic below for more detail on the 3 stages of emotion.
Not every person will move through these phases at the same pace. Some may have already reached a feeling of commitment or acceptance, while others may still be wrestling with the feeling of loss or might still be in a state of flux.
What can leaders do to help?
It’s important to address how your employees are truly feeling during times of immense change to effectively support and lead them. Here are some examples of language that can identify what phase of the transition your employee is currently in and some strategies to help support them through it:
Click on the plus signs in the graphic below for more detail on the strategies for each phase.
While being a leader is bound to feel daunting and overwhelming right now, there are things you can do to manage, adapt, and cope. Learning to understand the emotional process of change and providing your teams the coping strategies to navigate through it — can enable a healthy, engaged, and productive team.