Can Leaders Help Others Deal With Life Altering Change?

How do we help others grow during life altering change?How do we help others grow during life altering change?

I got several notes over the last three days from entrepreneurs and executives in Europe. Several of my long term clients wanted to know how they could help their teams deal with uncertainty for the next several months and, possibly, years. I believe Brexit will change the world forever.  How can we as serving leaders help others deal with life altering change?

In my earlier career, I worked with Dr. Deming, he taught me how individuals, organizations and countries deal with life altering change.  I thought I would share how we as serving leaders can help our family, friends and our communities deal with change.

The first rule of dealing with life altering change is to focus on constancy of purpose. During times of great change people can lose their bearings. We must learn to comfort other people. Not in the way we would like, but the way they prefer.

As leaders, it is critical that we focus on both individual and organizational purpose. The more you can help people find their purpose and reconnect with their mission, the more they feel in control of their lives and the future.

The second rule of dealing with life altering change is to help your teams keep the longer view of what is happening to them and their communities. Day by day, it’s hard to see improvements from the inside. Help your people by helping them connect to their longer view and possibilities. Good leaders must know how to help people keep both the long and short views in focus. This powerful paradox can also help bring them into the present day.

The third rule of dealing with life altering change is to understand what your people need from you as a leader. It’s critical that you understand what people expect from you as a leader. This can change very quickly and you must learn to read your people faster. The more time you can spend with your teams, the better they deal with the stress of change.

I believe helping children understand what is going on provides a safe and more loving home that can pay benefits over the short and long term. Children are very good at reading our emotions and it is critical that you help them understand this is only a temporary situation. The news they hear and read today is not doing this!

The fourth rule of dealing with life altering change is to know when to let go. Most entrepreneurs struggle with control. During times of dramatic change it is critical that you know what you can change and what you can’t. Know your limits and help others learn theirs. Increasing self-awareness can change a challenging situation into one that people can deal with. Letting go is the first step to healing and moving on.

The fifth rule of dealing with life altering change is to understand that all change is a temporary situation. When people feel that this situation is going to last forever, it’s critical you find way to show progress happening. Learn to share positive feedback often. Expand your ability to compliment peoples’ efforts and attempts. If people feel appreciated they continue to try new things.

The sixth rule of dealing with life altering change is to learn how to ask for help. During changing times it is critical that you ask for help when you need it.  I’ve seen many teams fail because the leader was either unwilling or unable to ask for help when they needed it. Learn to ask for help and you may be surprised how quickly people jump in with new enthusiasm to get things done.

The seventh rule of life altering change is to learn to appreciate others’ strengths. Let your people know they bring many different capabilities to your organization. Be willing to help people find and embrace their strengths during changing times.

When people use their strengths they are not only better at what they do., they enjoy making a larger contribution to their teams. As you grow as a leader, you are able to help others develop their natural gifts and strengths.

A strength based organization is better able to take on new challenges and remain flexible during increasingly stressful times. They are better equipped to handle life altering change.

Finally, the last rule of life altering change is to understand there is something bigger at work in their lives. It’s very easy to think that the universe is out to get you when things are constantly changing and evolving.  It seems like everything and everyone are here to make your life difficult.

I’ve found that having people appreciate what they have is the foundation to all the others things they want and need. Help people understand this too shall pass and you’re on your way to recovery. My cousin used to sum it up as “this too will pass…” and it always did. I hope this helps you deal more effectively with life altering change.

See you Friday!

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