Now is a great time to take a beat, take a breath, and exhale deeply.
We’re in a time of great possibility and great challenge. As we continue to navigate through COVID-19, take steps as a nation to challenge our individual and systemic racism, and head into one of the most contentious elections in our lifetimes, we’re all managing change in our lives and work.
In our work with Executive leaders, we’re hearing their excitement about creating a new future, and their frustration and fatigue as they’re making decisions that they know will make their teams anxious, will increase complexity before decreasing it, and that will have uncertain results.
If you’re in these types of conversations, below are three things you can do immediately to support staff and leaders through the challenges that change brings.

3 Ways to Overcome the Strain of Change

1. Name the Strain
  • Many leaders worry that if they talk about how tired and stressed people are feeling, they’ll increase the burden on their teams, when in fact, most staff feel seen and valued when a leader acknowledges the strain of these times.
  • In our work on engagement, we’ve found that people who believe their leaders care about them as individuals and value them for their unique gifts and talents have a sense that they belong. They feel included.
  • Giving people time to share their pandemic stories, even if for only a minute or two, can help them name the strain they’re experiencing.
  • Consider what naming the strain would look like in your organization, in your family, in your world.
2. Commit to Adapting
  • The ability to adapt and move forward is incredibly important to businesses, communities, and families.
  • Adapting to change is often the key to innovation.
  • When leaders (and parents) share their commitment to looking for the possibilities inherent in the obstacles and challenges and invite others to that level of leadership, then there’s a lived experience of the commitment to find a more positive and agile way forward.
  • How would a commitment to adapting to change, look in your organization, community, or family?
3. Clarify Decision-Making Principles
  • We’re all under considerable strain, in large part, due to the ongoing need for adaption. One way to get some stability while in the process of it is to be clear about the decision-making principles you’re using to guide you.
  • Many organizations have consistent principles they use in making decisions, but few have paused to identify them explicitly and name them as a guiding framework for moving forward.
  • You can build credibility, confidence in leadership, and engagement in decision-making when you name your guiding principles.
  • Saying to your team, something like, 
    • We have to consider how to cut expenses and increase revenues, and, as always, we’ll make decisions that are aligned with our guiding principles:
      • ensure we have the financial resources to sustain our mission
      • innovate to become more efficient, take advantage of opportunities, and mitigate dangerous risk
      • keep all our employees employed
      • maintain our culture of leadership and engagement

Spend some time this week considering how you can lead through the strain of change and let us know what you find to be helpful.
We’re here.