Congratulations! You are now in a leadership position in your non-profit. Now that you have the role, you may be wondering how to make the transition go as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Not only do you need to learn a new role and the roles and strengths of a new staff, your team is wondering what to expect from you. There is always uncertainty in change management.
Studies have shown it can take up to six months for a new leader to establish their foundation in the new leadership role. The six month change management transition is often filled with the new leader working to understand his/her teams’ communication styles and the team working to understand their new leader’s communication style. Understanding how to communicate internally is just as important as communicating outside of the non-profit.
So what if you could significantly shorten the change management transition? There are proven methodologies to help the new leader and team establish a working foundation in far less than the standard six month timeframe.
As a new leader, you should be prepared to answer the following questions for your team:
- What is my professional background? Where did I go to school and what is my related work experience. Be prepared to share different experiences. If you share similar experiences with a team member it will forge a common ground.
- What do I know about the organization? Whether you have been promoted from within or brought in from another organization, reaffirm to your team that you have a good handle on the non-profit.
- Do I clearly understand the mission and values of the non-profit? You cannot expect your team to clearly articulate the mission and values if you cannot. Lead by example and show everyone an in-depth understanding of the core values.
- How do I like to be communicated with? You cannot expect your team to read your mind and know what communication styles(s) you prefer.
These four questions are just the beginning steps to effectively shortening the time it takes for change management to take hold. The team also has to be prepared to answer questions about themselves and allow you, the new leader, insight into their world. Communication is always a two-way street.
As a new leader, you also need to learn how each of your team members functions best and what their expectations are from you. A few simple starting issues:
- How do you like to be addressed?
- What word best describes you?
- You will know I am upset when…?
These three issues are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to change management transition. We know this will help you start the process, however nothing replaces a transition conference with a qualified change management expert. A six hour change management experience could save your organization six months of unnecessary transitional challenges.