Leading large and complex change initiatives is an intensive and demanding job for those leading it and for their teams. The need for change, the timelines, the urge to meet targets and deadlines, it can put substantial pressure on teams.
As change leader you obviously support your teams, you motivate them and coach them. You lead by example and stimulate them to learn and grow, to make progress, to aim for top quality, and to become a truly winning team. It is the feeling of moving forward, of climbing our ladder of success together, which truly motivates us as a team! Right? But be careful!
Teams that are ceaselessly expanding their limits and grow their success for a period of time can lose sight of the fact that they are making progress. Despite the fact that they are moving forward and becoming better at what they do, they can show signals of demotivation, even of a decreasing trust in the team’s success.
Teams that ceaselessly expand their limits can start showing signals of demotivation and decreasing trust in the team’s success if they do not take the time to consciously experience and embed the results achieved.
Pay attention to the signals! For instance:
- Are issues and risks brought forward at the last moment instead of addressing these pro-actively?
- Do team members only report to you and never ask your advice or coaching?
- Does the team only discuss operational topics? Never sensitive topics like doubts or uncertainties?
- Do people point at others when things don’t go as planned instead of taking responsibility themselves?
Although these examples are not by definition telling you something is wrong, it would be wise not to neglect them. If you start noticing signals like these it’s maybe time to change pace. Step into your helicopter! Lift up and observe the landscape from above, from a distance. Give yourself an overview of what is going on down there. On where we came from, and where we are going. Is the road travelled clearly visible? How have we changed during our journey so far? Can you see this? Can you see the road ahead? Good! Now bring your team onboard of your helicopter and invite them to also have a look. Take a step back together and take the time to see from above. Ask your team to reflect on what they see and to share this with each other. How do we see the road ahead? How can we use what we’ve learned so far in the rest of our journey? Take some time to slow down together! Your team needs it to let its success sink in. This will give your people the energy to continue to build results.
How do you notice the signals in your team? When did you last get into your helicopter? What did you see?
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Photo: © HRS Business Transformation Services
Aad is a global business advisor, change leader/program manager, executive team facilitator, leadership coach, and frequently asked keynote speaker. He is founder and managing partner at HRS Business Transformation Services where he works with senior executives and their organizations globally in three key domains: ‘leading complex change’, ‘cross-cultural leadership’, and ‘post-merger integration’. Find out more about Aad, our services, and keynotes.