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How should regional leaders manage change successfully?

How should regional leaders manage change successfully?

Leaders have the responsibility of ensuring that employees are able to smoothly transition back to offices

Lockdowns gave us something that we may never have had in our lives before, and may never have again. Some of us had the opportunity to be alone, thoughtful and introspective, and to re-evaluate life, learn, and rest extensively.

Many people experienced a fascinating journey of personal growth throughout the lockdown period and are coming back to work rather like they have been awakened in the middle of deep sleep.

In reality, what has happened is that our brains adapted to a new way of living, replacing the old work routines with new and stimulating activities. Even those who had a deeply negative effect from the lockdown had a break from ‘life as usual’, and they have been forced to adapt.

Everyone has changed.

As we come back to the workplace, we are going to experience withdrawal symptoms. What was once familiar territory, will now appear to have become a new lifestyle. We must learn to let go of the feeling of loss of all that was, and embrace what the new normal looks like.

Some of the people used the additional time they had during the lockdown to exponentially grow themselves. Those who studied, read and learned new things will now expect a new approach at work, and if they do not find it, they will start to feel restless and seek out new opportunities elsewhere; especially if they return to a dry and dull work environment that reflects what they hope had been left behind.

The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened people’s awareness that life can be very different (from what was) and still be productive.

It has shown some people that they can be effective without someone breathing down their necks. It has also revealed that workers are quite happy to get on and produce good results without anyone telling them what to do.

The biggest challenge post lockdown is for managers and leaders to learn how to adapt to their teams’ needs.

At the top of the management to-do-list must be a thorough discussion with each member of staff. Managers would do well to schedule one-on-one sessions with each of their team members as they return to the work environment, and listen to their experience of the lockdown. An important thing to keep in mind is to follow the ‘STAL’ principle – ‘Stop Talking And Listen’.

Ask the right questions to understand what team members are experiencing while also getting a perspective on their expectations.

Important questions to ask:

•What did you do during the lockdown?
•What was your high point?
•What was your biggest challenge?
•What did you learn?
•How do you feel about coming back to the office/workplace?
•What would you like us to do differently or better than before?
•What would you like us to stop doing?
•What would you like us to do for you?
•How happy are you to be back?

Managers must create a new work environment with greater latitude, more engagement and inclusion. The majority of employees want to feel secure, and that comes from knowing that they are doing a good job and are appreciated. Once they feel reassured about this, then they are up for growth.

Think of it like this, if you invest in your people and they grow, they will work more efficiently and you will have better results. Those improved results will in turn lead to a more profitable business.

Managers must think through these issues before they get too caught up with “business as usual”.

The window of time in which this can be done is short, and hence this process must be done quickly and effectively without making a big show about it.

The approach must be simple and straightforward, with a genuine interest to figure out what the team wants.

Underlying this must be an unbiased self-examination by managers about how they are running the business.

Managers should answer these questions and make sure that they are personally ready to take things to the next level.

•Am I managing my people for their success?
•Am I creating a system that makes doing business consistently easier?
•Am I inspiring my team members to feel their personal contribution makes a difference around here?
•Am I encouraging everyone to grow and learn new things?
•Am I fostering a culture of openness and transparency?
•Do I celebrate the greatness in them?

Personal growth must never come second, not for the managers, nor for their people. The reality is that business leaders and managers can create an inspiring workplace by being inspirational.

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