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4 Steps to Use Change to Create High-Performing Teams

Change is one of the inevitabilities of life. Whether in your personal or professional life, how you deal with changes will dictate the future outcomes. In the workplace, change is not necessarily good or bad. In the face of difficult adversities, sometimes, good things can happen and some leaders reveal their true characters. And conversely, good intentioned measures can backfire and lead to disasters. To say that the modern workplace has undergone massive changes is one big understatement. Compared to the workplace of the 1960s or 1970s, today’s workplace has become more complex. These changes have been largely driven by organisations seeking for ways to become more competitive as well as the introduction of new technologies. In turn, these have led to shifts in perspectives, especially those related to job skills, the use of analytics, wages and benefits, educational requirements, and the role of women in the workplace. Why people resist change It can be as simple as moving people from one team to another or as complex as introducing new systems in the workplace. One thing is for certain: When you introduce changes in the workplace, you have to expect some form of resistance. Fears about job security In the workplace, enforcing changes that result in a change in status creates fears among the affected personnel regarding their job security. Lack of rewards Before implementing changes, managers should put a reward system into place. Otherwise, when employees do not see the benefits, they will resist changes or put in lackluster work. Fear of the unknown When employees are caught by surprise by changes, they become fearful and resort to speculation. Furthermore, the element of surprise can create a sense of mistrust between managers and their employees. Fear of failure Resistance, especially among your top performers, can arise when they think that changes can undermine their performance. Introducing unknown elements can cause worries about being unable to adapt to new systems. Poor timing Sometimes, it is not necessarily the changes you are planning to implement that your employees resist. If you force these changes at a wrong time, your employees will think that you are insensitive or tone deaf. Turning challenges into opportunities Great leaders see opportunities in challenges. When top management plans to implement changes in the workplace, you can use this as an opportunity to create a high performing team that delivers success. How do you do that? Create a shared vision As you shepherd your team toward new goals, it is important that you create a vision that should be shared, understood, and clearly communicated to all team members. Ideally, this vision should be clear, highly focused, feasible, and something that everyone can get behind. Collaborate In high performing teams, leadership is not centralized. Rather, all team members, including the leaders, pitch in their talents and skills and share responsibilities. In turn, this increases the accountability of each team member and fosters an environment of clear and transparent communication. Invest in learning and development In can be difficult for team members to adapt to change when they are deprived of opportunities to learn and hone new skills which change often requires. Improvement of your team’s knowledge and skills will not only prepare them better for changes, this can also boost their confidence and sense of being a team member. When resources allow it, you might even want to consider investing in development coaching. Provide a platform for feedback High performance teams differentiate themselves from their peers by tweaking their work based on performance evaluations, incoming reviews and data. Encourage team members to provide their inputs regarding ways for everyone to improve their performance. In the face of change, high performance teams lead the charge instead of simply being swept by the current. Now, where does your team belong? In the front lines or way behind?  
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4 Steps to Use Change to Create High-Performing Teams

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4 Steps to Use Change to Create High-Performing Teams

Change is one of the inevitabilities of life. Whether in your personal or professional life, how you deal with changes will dictate the future outcomes.

In the workplace, change is not necessarily good or bad. In the face of difficult adversities, sometimes, good things can happen and some leaders reveal their true characters. And conversely, good intentioned measures can backfire and lead to disasters.

To say that the modern workplace has undergone massive changes is one big understatement. Compared to the workplace of the 1960s or 1970s, today’s workplace has become more complex.

These changes have been largely driven by organisations seeking for ways to become more competitive as well as the introduction of new technologies.

In turn, these have led to shifts in perspectives, especially those related to job skills, the use of analytics, wages and benefits, educational requirements, and the role of women in the workplace.

Why people resist change

It can be as simple as moving people from one team to another or as complex as introducing new systems in the workplace. One thing is for certain: When you introduce changes in the workplace, you have to expect some form of resistance.

Fears about job security

In the workplace, enforcing changes that result in a change in status creates fears among the affected personnel regarding their job security.

Lack of rewards

Before implementing changes, managers should put a reward system into place. Otherwise, when employees do not see the benefits, they will resist changes or put in lackluster work.

Fear of the unknown

When employees are caught by surprise by changes, they become fearful and resort to speculation. Furthermore, the element of surprise can create a sense of mistrust between managers and their employees.

Fear of failure

Resistance, especially among your top performers, can arise when they think that changes can undermine their performance. Introducing unknown elements can cause worries about being unable to adapt to new systems.

Poor timing

Sometimes, it is not necessarily the changes you are planning to implement that your employees resist. If you force these changes at a wrong time, your employees will think that you are insensitive or tone deaf.

Turning challenges into opportunities

Great leaders see opportunities in challenges. When top management plans to implement changes in the workplace, you can use this as an opportunity to create a high performing team that delivers success.

How do you do that?

Create a shared vision

As you shepherd your team toward new goals, it is important that you create a vision that should be shared, understood, and clearly communicated to all team members. Ideally, this vision should be clear, highly focused, feasible, and something that everyone can get behind.

Collaborate

In high performing teams, leadership is not centralized. Rather, all team members, including the leaders, pitch in their talents and skills and share responsibilities. In turn, this increases the accountability of each team member and fosters an environment of clear and transparent communication.

Invest in learning and development

In can be difficult for team members to adapt to change when they are deprived of opportunities to learn and hone new skills which change often requires. Improvement of your team’s knowledge and skills will not only prepare them better for changes, this can also boost their confidence and sense of being a team member. When resources allow it, you might even want to consider investing in development coaching.

Provide a platform for feedback

High performance teams differentiate themselves from their peers by tweaking their work based on performance evaluations, incoming reviews and data. Encourage team members to provide their inputs regarding ways for everyone to improve their performance.

In the face of change, high performance teams lead the charge instead of simply being swept by the current. Now, where does your team belong? In the front lines or way behind?

 

Salma

Salma ElShurafa

Blog Author

Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CT's Co-Active Leadership program
 

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Doing any kind of learning online might be a completely new concept to you. You’re used to using a textbook, jotting notes in class and writing papers on mandatory subjects. E-learning is a featured education, on the other hand, offers something completely new and accessible, requiring only your computer and a few hours of your time a day. There’s only one problem – you can’t make yourself start. It’s easy to understand why e-learning might seem intimidating or impractical in some ways. Nothing can replace a living person that talks to you and approves or disapproves your current progress. You’ll be surprised to hear there are multiple benefits to using an e-learning environment as opposed to sitting in a classroom. Let’s take a look at some of the tips, tricks, and reasons you don’t have to be anxious about the e-learning environment but get excited and jump right to it instead. 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Anxiety is a concept that drives us down any time we want to achieve something new and bigger than anything before. Thinking about what makes you use e-learning in the first place is one of the best tips you can get and it will surely jump-start your battle with anxiety. Talk to your friends and family The best motivators we have are the ones who are closest to us. Talk to people you trust and those who make you feel safe. They know you like no one else, and they will always be there for you. Confronting them with the wish of learning online will help you in a huge way because they will want to participate in your learning process and help out. Even though you are learning online and sitting in front of a computer, someone can always check on you from time to time or even sit next to you for a little while. Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of and your closest ones will be familiar with your struggle if you are honest with them. 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I’d love to always be able to choose the right people for my projects but in practice that rarely happens. My teams are made up of the people I inherit, or the people who are available. And that’s not a bad thing: my colleagues are always enthusiastic. But sometimes the people that you work with don’t have the right skills to do the precise job that you need right now. When that happens, we need to quickly improve the skills in the team to get them to where they need to be. Then they can contribute more effectively and overall you’ll get more done in the right way. Here are 5 ways that you can develop the skills in your team. 1. Workshadowing Workshadowing is where you put someone who needs to brush up their skills alongside someone who already has those skills. The learner gets to see how their colleague does things in real life, plus they are exposed to experiences that they might not get in their existing role. It’s a good way to let people get on-the-job learning without having to pay for training. Of course, it does cost you something, as the person who is being workshadowed will probably spend longer completing their tasks when they have someone following them about. They’ll also need to be patient and able to cope with the multitude of questions. In itself, workshadowing might not be enough. It’s good for seeing how tasks are done and for gaining exposure, but unless it’s paired with a formal knowledge transfer then it’s really just about dipping your toes in the water of the topic. People tend to only workshadow for a short period of time so there’s a limit to how much you can improve someone’s skills in that window. Pros: Workshadowing is super easy to set up and virtually free. Cons: You need to find someone with the right skills, the time to pass them on and an attitude that makes them a good teacher. 2. Mentoring Mentoring has the same approach of pairing an experienced person with someone less experienced. But the arrangement is more formal, and instead of simply observing what the more experienced person is doing, the mentee (the person being mentored) can get more advice and help by asking questions, normally within a more formal framework. Pairs meet regularly to talk about issues that the less experienced person is having. Think of it as ‘taking someone under your wing’ or a bit like a buddy scheme. Another benefit is that the mentor can introduce their mentee to others in their network: not only are you getting access to their experience and their brain but also the practical resources that they can offer through connections. Pros: Being a mentor is a good career opportunity for your more senior staff as it helps them develop a range of leadership skills. It’s relatively easy to set up but does take some time to match people to good mentors. Cons: Mentoring works best when there is a semi-formal or formal framework in place with the support of the wider organization. Without this, an informal relationship is likely to fall apart due to the pressures of having to do the day job. You need both parties to commit to finding time to take part in mentoring, and be committed to the success of their pairing. When pairs have a personality clash, the relationship and the benefits you were expecting from mentoring, become diluted. 3. Coaching Coaching is different from training in that coaching is less about offering advice and more about helping others find their own solutions in a way that is going to be most effective for them. It’s less about ‘when I do that I do it like this’ and more ‘how could you do it and be successful’? There’s a huge skill in coaching which is why coaches normally have formal training and accreditation. If there are people in your team who need support with the softer skills of management and leadership then this is a powerful option, but if they need to be directed in how to complete their work, or they are starting from scratch, coaching might not be the best tool for improving their skills. Pros: Coaching is hugely powerful and confidence-boosting. Cons: Coaching takes time to implement because you’ll either have to train staff internally to act as coaches (it’s different to mentoring) or buy in resources to offer the coaching service to you. 4. Training You were wondering when I’d get to training, weren’t you? Training is the option most people think about first when they consider how to improve the skills of their team. You’ve got lots of training options: • Running courses in-house by experienced internal resources • Bringing a trainer in to the company to teach on your premises • Sending the relevant team members to classroom courses • Online training, which could be self-directed or trainer-led (read more about when to use online training) And I’m sure as technology develops we’ll see even more options and hybrids blending these different options to make a course delivery method that works perfectly for your team. Training isn’t a quick fix because you need to take what you have learned and apply it to your day-to-day activities so there is that transition period when you return from your course. Training does have to be clearly matched to the needs of the person receiving the training. There’s no point, for example, of sending someone on a general IT management course when actually what they need is ITIL® Foundation. Pros: Training is perfect when you need your team to get accredited in a particular skill. It’s a fast way to improve their competence. Cons: Training is probably the most expensive of all these options (although coaching can be pretty pricey too). You need to make sure that they have the time to apply and use their new skills in the workplace otherwise you’ll find they quickly go back to their old ways of working. 5. Supporting Their Learning When someone is keen to learn independently, your role as a manager might just be to support their efforts. Many ambitious people across IT and project management are prepared to study for and take certification and professional development courses through their own motivation and you should encourage this and support as necessary. Support could, of course, be financial, such as helping with course costs, fees, and training materials. It could also be practical, such as offering time off for study or exams. You can also help your team members take on more self-directed learning in a more direct way, by giving them time to work on their professional development inside working hours and providing them with the resources they need, such as books or websites on the topic. Pros: Self-directed learning is the most hands-off for the manager and is very cheap to implement. Cons: Finding reputable sources for self-directed learning ccan be hard. There are plenty of websites with tutorials, checklists and videos that will help you learn about almost anything, but you need to be confident in the material and the quality of the trainer. Self-directed learning relies heavily on the motivation of individuals. People may be keen to study and improve their skills, but are they developing in areas where you really need them to? As you can see, there are lots of options for boosting the skills in your team, and this list has probably given you other ideas too. 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