The ability to cope with change is a basic requirement for many small businesses. Mergers and acquisitions may be prevalent in your sector, and technology is changing the way businesses work all the time.
It's important that change should cause as little disruption to the business as possible. This means your staff should be prepared for it and not fear the consequences. If their concerns are ignored or mismanaged staff will feel vulnerable and demotivated and the quality of their work may suffer.
Helping staff adapt to change
Whatever the nature of the change, leadership during this time is built on good communication. Therefore you should try to:
- Eliminate uncertainty - be honest and upfront from the beginning of the change process. Give as much information as you can about the change, and the impact it will have on people and ways of working.
- Be visible - try to give the key message face to face. They'll appreciate hearing it from you in person.
- Match the mood to the message - the way you communicate is almost as important as the message itself. If you have got bad news, give it sensitively.
- Delegate - you can control the information you give by using managers who know their staff and know how best to communicate it.
- Encourage employee input - Give people the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. Make sure this isn't just a cosmetic exercise, they may just have the solution to your problem.
Try to see change as an opportunity, rather than a threat. Because it requires more leadership, it's a chance for you to grow in the eyes of your employees. If you earn more respect it will increase their motivation to work for you.
Read more on how to inform and consult your employees.