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4 steps to lead through uncertainty and change leadership coach anne koopmann

4 Tips to Lead through Change and Uncertainty

Change is part of our world and any organisation. It is not easy to adapt to change sometimes. But if you focus on the basic needs of your team through that time, you will be able to bring them along the journey with you. In this article, I will share 4 tips to lead your team through change and uncertainty.

Before we go into the needs of your team, it’s really important that we acknowledge that as leaders, we also might be going through the same challenges that our team members are. We might ourselves feel unsure, stressed and a little bit scared of the change. And also we might not always know what to do or what to say.

The thing is you don’t need to have all the answers. But what your team needs the most is clear and regular communication.

You also need to be courageous to make a decision, even though you might not have all the answers. But remember, it is okay to change your mind if you late realise there is a better way. Just share it with your team and communicate openly why you are making this change now.

And another important aspect is your self-management and how to motivate yourself when you go through uncertainty and change. Make sure that you have your strategies in place to control your emotions, and have a resilience support kit that helps you to get back up when things get tough.

When it comes to leading a team through times of uncertainty, Gallup has defined four key components – trust, compassion, stability, and hope.

1) Trust


When it comes to change and uncertainty, it’s really important that your team can trust you. They need to be able to rely on you. To foster trust, they need to see the real you. Be authentic. Don’t be afraid to be a bit vulnerable yourself. Share when you have doubts or a difficult day. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know yet, but we will figure this out.”

It can be beneficial to share your strategies of how you overcame difficult times yourself and how you manage and regulate your emotions.

Make sure you deliver on what you said you would and make sure you communicate clearly regularly.

2) Compassion

The second component is compassion. Empathy is an important competency through ambiguous times.

Keep in mind that going through change often means that someone might have to give up something that they truly care about. It could mean to give up something they used to know and feel comfortable with. And sometimes it can mean they have to let go of their opinions and beliefs.

Make sure that you support them through the emotional journey fo change. Be there and listen. You don’t need to fix anything or find a solution. It is enough that you should that you are there and you get that it can be challenging to let go. Allow your team to process these emotions and coach them through it.

3) Stability

The third component is stability. It’s so important to have a stable element in our lives when we go through uncertainty and change. You, as the leader, can play this significant role.

Make sure that you are available regularly. Have a meeting schedule in place with regular one-on-one and team meetings, ideally weekly. Ensure that your team members know when they will get to see you and speak to you.

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Keep a rhythm up of how you work together, how you follow up on tasks and your standard procedures.

Having this rhythm will provide a feeling of safety. And that feeling of security will carry your team members through the uncertainty, motivate the team and empower them to take a risk.

4) Hope

And lastly, the fourth component is hope. When we go through change or uncertainty, we need to provide hope, inspiration and a path forward. Share your vision, inspire the team, provide clarity on what they are working towards to – What are the excellent outcomes of this change?

Final thoughts

Share positive feedback, share positive points and outcomes. Celebrate the success of the team along the way.

Guiding your team through change can be challenging but keep in mind that humans are very resilient and adaptable.

Acknowledge that not everybody will get through the change at the same pace.

Your role as a leader is vital. Now is not the time to hide. You have to be visible. You have to be approachable. Be patient and guide your team through the change. Use your resilience, compassion and empathy, and build real relationships to foster trust.

I have recently released a podcast episode about this topic. Check it out here.

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