You are a Leader Navigating Change

By Evelyn Milani

Using the Correct Communication Techniques to Earn Your Team’s Trust During Change

This is a three-minute read that is part of a series on practical ways to navigate change and retain valuable staff-

Even the bravest of us get that queasy feeling when we know change is coming. Whether we are anticipating a change at work, home, during a doctor’s visit, or even UI changes on our social apps can make us nervous.

Our brains are conditioned over time expect certain outcomes through repetition in our daily tasks. The security of knowing what to expect on a daily basis gives us a sense of security. Anticipating the unknown takes everyone out of their comfort zone. This is particularly true when it comes to our careers, our livelihoods, how we support ourselves and find joy in our talents. Communication is key in situations involving CHANGE-


If you are leading a team and encountering change; ie: new management, an acquisition or merger, re-alignment of the work, new system upgrades, your staff is feeling queasy. The hard part is -so are you. BUT- that “leader” title you have puts you in a position of being the strong one in the equation. Here are some practical ways to communicate with your team that can help everyone feel more secure:

Get executive sponsorship to share appropriate information that and be honest with your team. Company info is on the web, you can’t hide major changes such as acquisitions, re-orgs, etc. Your team deserves the straight scoop especially early on. If your company is not employee-centric that way, you may want to re-think where you are working.

Share appropriate information with your team. Not everyone needs to be privy to every detail. Team Leads may receive more information from you than individual contributors and can help dis-spell rumors or false information. Assigning Team Leads to stay close to staff can be a learning experience for the Team Leads in how to handle delicate situations.

Avoid sharing personal thoughts and feelings when your communicate with your team. Doing this sends mixed messages and will backfire and haunt you for years.

Be prepared to have one-on-ones with people who need more information or support during change. This requires asking your team, one by one, independent of everyone else, whether more information is required and how they are feeling/doing. It is highly recommended to loop other leaders in such as HR for delicate and complex triage.

You may have nay-sayers to new system implementations because “we have been doing it this way forever”. Champions (individual contributors and super-users who are on board with the new system) can help bring people who are resistant to change along and this can be another learning opportunity for someone to rise to a Champion role.

Don’t let the communication channel shut down mid-stream. Follow up often as events occur and changes happen. Don’t put your head in the sand.

Hang in there! Have a mentor or senior leader you can bounce ideas and thoughts off of. We have all been there!

If you are navigating change and need ideas, we can align you with the correct resources to help guide! [email protected]