From being transparent about changes to ensuring a collaborative environment here are the 7 answers to the question, “How should leaders best approach changing teams (due to turnover) within their organization?”
- Be Transparent and Positive About Change
- Practice Empathetic Leadership
- Create Effective Transition Plans
- Appoint a “Designated Worrier”
- Book One-on-one Meetings With Team Members
- Create Learning and Development Programs
- Delegate to Experienced Employees
- Help Ensure a Collaborative Environment
Be Transparent and Positive About Change
Change is a given and it’s important as a leader to prepare our teams for it and address it with poise and positivity. When there are changes due to turnover, it’s wise to not avoid the issue but address it head-on. An email can be a good way to make sure the message is consistent, give an explanation for why the change was made at this time, and introduce new team members with openness and welcoming. Staying positive and diplomatic in this situation is the best way to approach it.
Practice Empathetic Leadership
Empathy is the ability to identify and experience the emotions of another and is one domain of emotional intelligence. Empathetic leaders develop a clear understanding of their emotional processes as well as the emotional processes of their team members. This leads to making conscious choices that lead to better outcomes for all and even improved success rates. One way to develop empathy is through mindfulness-based practices.
Create Effective Transition Plans
Managing change has been inevitable, especially in the past couple of years. To navigate through change and high turnover more smoothly, create effective transition plans that diminish your worries as a leader, and those of your employees, and reward high engagement. Your transition plans should include succession plans and career transition plans for your employees. When people have a clear vision ahead in addition to staying connected to the company’s vision, it is most likely that they will remain more focused and engaged.
Appoint a “Designated Worrier”
When teams experience turnover, they inevitably experience shifts in task ownership too. Conscientious employees whose tasks move to others often continue to worry about the task’s quality and success after it has transitioned.
It’s not enough to agree on a cutover date for task handoff—managers and leaders can support their teams by ensuring the parties are clearly aligned on who will be the task’s “designated worrier” during training and handoff. This individual will be the sole owner of the task’s quality and successful execution. It could be the prior owner during training, but after handoff, it is important that all parties explicitly agree that the new owner is the designated worrier from here on out (ideally, with the prior owner available for questions).
If a designated worrier isn’t established, teams can become divided, as prior owners excessively check on the task and new owners view it as a lack of trust and confidence in them.
Book One-on-one Meetings With Team Members
When managers begin leading a new team, one-on-one meetings with each team member are critical. There are always some hesitations for employees when assigned a new leader, and getting to know each other personally can alleviate some of these concerns. The conversation is also an opportunity to collect feedback on how you can best support your team and improvements you may want to consider.
Create Learning and Development Programs
Create learning and development programs. For a team that is entirely new, it can be difficult for them to pick up the pieces immediately. They may have questions about previous projects and won’t know who to turn to, or they may be unsure where their predecessor previously left off. Hold learning programs for each team so every department can understand how they work together and what their role is within the company. This will make the onboarding process a bit easier as new employees get the hang of things.
Delegate to Experienced Employees
The one thing all leaders and managers should do is put some long-term employees on teams with new employees. Every team needs some experience and mentors and that’s the best way to do it. Make these more experienced employees team leaders so there is a seamless transition.
If you have several more experienced on a team, assign them as mentors to newer employees so they can quickly get up to speed.
Help Ensure a Collaborative Environment
Leaders and managers should best approach changing teams by first fostering a collaborative environment in order to best lead a team. Coaching a team is not an easy assignment, as any manager can attest.
Managers are responsible for overseeing the timely and high-quality completion of work as well as for fostering a positive work environment that inspires and engages team members. Fostering a collaborative environment is one of the most crucial methods to do this. Team members are more likely to be creative and productive when they believe they are working together towards a common objective.
Additionally, a collaborative workplace fosters mutual respect and trust among team members, laying the groundwork for future success. Naturally, encouraging a collaborative environment is not always simple, but it is crucial for any manager who wants to maximize their team’s performance. It is not feasible without feedback. Your team cannot adapt or truly build upon what’s working and what isn’t.