5 tips on how to lead in times of change

Written by
Oona Collins

18 Jan 2017

18 Jan 2017 • by Oona Collins

Emotional intelligence is ‘the ability to manage yourself in order to manage others’. At times of major change people need resilient and optimistic leaders that have a clear vision and can see the opportunities in a changing market that others have not yet identified.   

So how do you personally manage those moments of uncertainty before delivering a key message to your team that will inspire confidence and boost their morale? 

In the weeks following the EU Referendum result, I was contacted by several C-suite clients - some saw opportunities from global investors who were attracted to the exchange rates that the UK offered, and others had concerns about how it would affect market conditions and income levels.

It was important for them to be able to process their thoughts with an executive coach vs their team.  Being able to communicate their emotions honestly in a safe environment enabled them to access the clarity they needed so that their team could see them at their best. 

Top five tips on how to lead your team in times of change...

1. Manage your own emotional state (you are human!)

It sounds simple but even for time-pressed individuals, it’s vital that you find time out from your business. Find somewhere that inspires you that’s off-patch – even if it a short walk. Breathe. You are only going to gain perspective by taking a step back.  Where you focus your attention has a massive impact on your emotional state. There are a number of strategies that are used in sport that can give you the belief and energy to lead others.

2. Identify opportunities and refine your plan

Review your business plan. Be clear on your vision both personally and professionally, does it still apply to ‘the now’, and also the future.  Answer the question “what is good about this market and/or change” – there are always opportunities.  Break down some simple steps that are critical to you achieving this vision that people can apply immediately.  They are often simple strategies that remain forever.

3. Engage your team and regularly communicate progress

Take time to reflect with your teams and encourage creativity and lateral thinking. Invite people from different age groups – different generations bring important insights.  Ask good questions - What is the one thing that you need right now that would have the biggest impact … and listen!  I am reminded of the quote “Are you listening or are you waiting to speak.” 

4. Stay close to your clients and customers make it personal

Understand the challenges and problems of your clients and customers and offer solutions – personal attention is key at this moment – pick up the phone vs email.

5. Create an action plan that truly inspires you

In your reflection time and team sessions, write down how you are going to achieve your vision and aspirations. What do you need to do, who needs to be part of this, how are you going to communicate this and bring your team with you?

Using these five tips will help you gain clarity on what you’re trying to achieve and where you’re heading; and your teams will be grateful for the direction and leadership, and be motivated to succeed.