What to do when the big boss changes the rules?

October 23, 2014 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

Within large corporations, senior managers can often find themselves caught between the decisions made by the board and how to get the best from their team in times of change. The responsibility for keeping their team happy and motivated whilst implementing to the ideas from above can leave any leader feeling somewhat isolated, with no obvious support mechanism.

For example, your Managing Director decides to change the way the sales team operates by reducing the number of accounts that each salesperson will focus on. You understand completely that this increased focus by your team should drive better results. However you know that your sales teams will feel constrained because they will see less opportunity for them to succeed. What should you do?

Firstly, be very clear about your views on the changes.  If you support the changes then you are more likely to communicate them in a positive way to the team. If you can’t see anything positive then speak to your boss to raise your concerns, and to get more information to be able to move into a positive mindset. This is vital if you are to be successful in convincing the team to adopt the new approach.

Next, pre-empt who will be impacted the most be these changes and establish what options you have to minimise that impact.

Once you have communicated the changes, listen to what your team is saying and if they have any concerns. Remember that listening is not just about being quiet and hearing what the person is saying. Give the person your full attention and be aware of both their facial expressions and body language, all of which can tell you a lot about how a person is feeling. Leaders who are able to really listen to their team create trustworthy and loyal relationships and make their team feel that they have their best interests at heart.

Understand your team’s concerns. Take the time to put yourself in their shoes, especially if they have a genuine complaint about the changes that are taking place. Sometimes people are scared to try something new and this is where your leadership skills come in. You must try and understand their worries while also encouraging them and showing them that the tasks are possible.  As the team leader you must also understand why the Managing Director has made the changes. For example, are they trying to focus the team, so their efforts are more productive, but the team feels their ‘sales creativity’ is being limited?

Discuss the team’s ideas with them. Listen to what they suggest. If you feel that your team are justified in their concerns then you may need to go back to the Managing Director to discuss this further. However, if you feel that these changes can be worked through then explain the changes to your team in more detail. Show your team you are flexible and willing to consider their thoughts.

Lastly, be positive. If the change is permanent then find a way to talk to your team about it in a positive way.  A demoralised team won’t function. As the team leader you must make this change a positive thing, make the goals clear, show how the job is feasible and possible, show them the positive results of this work. No one will work for an impossible goal.

Entry filed under: Motivation.

I feel constantly over-worked. How can I get my life back without letting my team down? Times are tough and I’m not sure if I can afford big bonuses for my staff this year? Is there any other way to ensure they stay?

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Alan Adair

Contact Details

Alan Adair

Extra Dimension
Helping you and your teams to be more engaged, motivated and effective.

21 Pelican House
Stone Close
BH15 4GE

Tel 01202 830047

Email alan.adair@extradimension.co.uk


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