Team morale is essential for effective collaboration and results. However, with our world of work changing rapidly, it has never been more difficult to keep teams engaged, committed, and connected. So, how can we keep our team spirit high while navigating change? We asked our co-Founder, Gareth, about his experience leading teams through uncertainty to find out more.
Is change threatening your team’s mojo?
When it comes to change, challenges are inevitable. And so is our tendency to perceive it as a threat. As an employee you worry about your job security, fear being left behind in the process, or feel anxious about how things will not be the same again. As a manager, you question what it will do to your team: “you’re worried about people leaving, but on a macro level you’re worried about the individuals in the team and how they will respond to change. Will it impact their day to day work? Will relationships suffer? Will those behaviours and attributes that made the team so successful be eroded? And, ultimately, what will it mean for our clients?”
Avoid making this mistake
Gareth has led teams through change even before founding Fika and for him, the number one priority is always keeping their spirits as high as possible. But managing others’ fears while battling your own can be a herculean task - especially when you try to do it all by yourself.
At one point of his career, he recalls being so determined to shield the team from all the inevitable challenges that he forgot to give himself the same level of care: “I put a huge amount of unnecessary pressure on myself when I should have trusted the team and delegated more. As a result, I burned out completely - I took it all on and pushed it all down instead of enabling myself to live the example behaviours I was trying to encourage in the team.”
So, what exactly works to keep teams together and focused during challenging times?
5 steps to keep your team together through change
There’s no magic trick to keep teams engaged. It all comes down to small behaviours that compound over time to create spaces where people feel empowered to overcome challenges together. What can you do to make this happen while navigating change? For Gareth, the formula is simple: Talk, Listen, Ask, Strengthen, and Model. You can break this down into 5 action steps:
- “TALK ABOUT IT TOGETHER. Create a space that allows people to talk about all the things they worry the change may bring.”
- “LISTEN. Don’t try and solve the problem, but understand that it’s ok not to just be excited about the opportunity. Most people don’t react well to change and sometimes as managers we can too easily ‘skip to the end’ where we just want people to focus on the opportunity. But to do that you have to allow them to take the trash out of their own heads first.”
- “ASK QUESTIONS. Enable them to get to the root issues that are driving the concerns and think about past situations where they felt similar ones. Encourage them to reflect on what the opposite positive opportunities might be that exist in relation to their fears.”
- “USE THEIR STRENGTHS. Get them working on things that play to their strengths as quickly and often as possible. This helps them feel satisfied at work, while reducing anxiety and worry.”
- FOCUS ON ACTIONS OVER WORDS. Teams follow behavioural norms not conversational ones. Remember that YOU set the example through the actions you take as a leader and how you model the behaviours you want your team to see.
It’s often said that change is the only constant in life. While that may be true, there’s no denying that change can be difficult – especially at work. Whether it’s a change in leadership, in location, or in the company’s direction, everyone reacts to it differently. So, Gareth reminds us that “maintaining an optimistic mindset is not about being relentlessly happy - it’s about recognising challenges but remaining positive about how you can solve them together and the benefits of doing so.”
At Fika we help you prepare for change through our behavioural approach to team training. By making small changes in your team’s existing way of working, you can boost their ability to handle changes healthily and overcome challenges together. Sounds intriguing? Try it for yourself today and see the benefits first hand - for free!