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How to Change Your Leadership Style in a Changing Environment

What is leadership?

It can be described as the act of guiding or having influence over a person, group, or an organization. With the changing nature of societies and the world in general, leadership has become a fluid practice, evolving over time. Unfortunately, sometimes change can be difficult to deal with. It can be especially challenging for a leader whose actions affect many people such as in their team, organization, or company. That leader is responsible for the way change affects their team, so they need to adapt their leadership style to suit the situation or a change in their regular working environment. To successfully carry your team through a period of change or through a changing environment, you need to work on your leadership skills and understand how to change your leadership style to suit the changes around you.

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How to Change Your Leadership Style in a Changing Environment

Here are ways you can adapt to your surroundings and change your leadership style in a changing environment;

1. Recognize the need

The first step towards implementing changes in leadership style is to recognize the need to adapt in accordance to the change in the environment or the circumstances at hand. Change can be tricky and you need to take the time to see how things are going to work out in the long-run. Understand why you need to adapt and what the consequences of adapting will be as well as the consequences of not adapting.

Train yourself to change your mindset to be in alignment with the circumstances so that you start thinking constructively rather than panicking. Put aside preconceived ideas and prepare for the change.

2. Be a purposeful leader

Leadership at all levels of an organization will showcase a clear distinction between management and leadership. Management may focus on organizing and effectively operating; while leadership is a more hands-on, interactive practice that includes the participation of all members of a team. Especially during a period of organizational leadership and change and crisis, you will need to be more involved as a leader. Leadership is a dynamic relationship between the leader and the followers and is a process rather than a trait that comes with deliberate and regular practice.

3. Create a plan

Planning is essential to a leader’s journey. It is especially important in times of rapid change. Create a step-by-step or phase-by-phase plan as to how you will carry your team through a challenging time. If you as a leader do not innovate and react to the changing environment, your company or business will be at risk of collapse. It helps to be cautious before you embark on the journey of change and transformation. So, make sure to revisit your business plan to incorporate the additional steps to address the changes you, your team, and your company will face in order to come out thriving on the other side.

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4. Communicate with your team

We have all heard that communication is key. That is because it truly is. Communication is key when it comes to cooperation and growth among team members, and as a leader it is critical that you communicate clearly with your team members to make sure they are well aware of the role they have to play through this time of change. Keep your lines of communication open and involve your employees in the process of the change. Allow all your employees an opportunity to voice their ideas, concerns, and suggestions so that you can make the process of change an exciting and worthwhile experience with better and effective communication. This will ensure no misunderstandings within your team and will keep the loyalty and trust of your team members high even through difficult times.

Read: Best Proven Communication Tips for a Remote Workforce

5. Set realistic goals

While it is reasonable to expect members to put in the extra time and effort during a period of change, as a leader, you also need to be realistic and set clear-sighted goals for the team. If your expectations are too high team members will not be able to meet deadlines, and you will have to compromise on quality or quantity. Additionally, the morale of employees will plummet and individuals will become alienated, which will lead to further complications.

So, consider the capabilities of each individual and set goals for them that they can achieve. As a leader, you need all your employees or team members to be at their absolute best during challenging times.

6. Delegate

Remember that you are not expected to implement changes alone as an individual leader. Delegating tasks is an essential aspect of leadership. So, assign tasks to members across the team, along with firm deadlines for every stage of those tasks. Make sure to follow up with each of the members and provide support when it is necessary.

Identifying key team members who share your view and agree with your vision. You can delegate through them. These key employees will act as role models and are very likely to encourage other employees through the process.

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7. Decision-making with the team

As a leader, you must be transparent with your team. Share the goals you have set with the team and seek the views of all members before arriving at the correct mode of action. It is important to take their suggestions and concerns into consideration because each member brings their own strengths. Balance the team’s wisdom and knowledge to solve problems effectively.

8. Addressing problems

There is no plan that will be executed without any issues. So, you need to predict possible issues that might come up along the way and have the plan to overcome them beforehand. As a leader, you should minimize the chances of any other challenges throwing your plan off course. Try not to view a problem as a distraction, but rather as a learning opportunity previously unseen. Your own resilience will help the team cope in a more constructive manner.

On the other hand, leaders who lack the wisdom to approach a problem with a positive attitude often block the possibility of learning from a crisis. A folly that does not only cost the individual, but also the whole team.

9. Review and adapt

At regular intervals, review the effect of your plans and strategies to understand the wins and losses. This will give you a chance to address the losses and change your course of action accordingly. But, also take this opportunity to celebrate the wins. This helps boost the team’s morale and motivation. Regular reviews will help you sustain the momentum of progress so this practice is vital.

10. Inculcate accountability

Hold people responsible or accountable for implementing change at their level, whether that may be individually or within their own small team. And ensure that you hold yourself accountable as well. You should be well-equipped with the proper tools, resources, talent, responsibility, and authority necessary to finish what you have started or what you intend on starting beforehand.

11. Lead with empathy

As a leader or mentor of a team, one of the most important things to remember is empathy. As an empathetic leader, learn to develop a genuine curiosity about the lives of your team members. To lead with empathy, remember that your team needs you to be present. Truly listen when you are being spoken to and recognize each team member’s input. Leading with empathy enables a person to predict the effect of their decisions or actions on the other members of a team and make strategies accordingly. This will help you not only understand what your employees are going through during the period of change but also help you build relationships.

A leader with a lack of empathy cannot relate to others or build a team or nurture any future generations of leaders. Most of us feel empathy like any other inbuilt emotion, but some individuals are extremely or naturally gifted at sensing other people’s sadness, anger, or frustration. Empathy can be learned to some degree and must be practiced as well. This is a very important step to take to change your leadership style in a changing environment.

Read: Tips to Lead Your Team in a Crisis

Summary

There is a saying that change is the only constant in life. Humans are masters of adapting to change. We live and have learned to thrive in an ever-changing society, which means individuals naturally learn to adapt to new or different conditions that we are faced with. You just need to apply that strategically and willfully in order to successfully change your leadership style during a crisis.

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