16 | Jun | 2017

Looking after your management team during a restructure

Author: Trevor-Roberts

Looking after your management team during a restructure

It is important to keep your management team motivated and resilient throughout the organisational change process, as they play a crucial role in the success of the change.

The management team can have a three-pronged responsibility during a change process. They can be responsible for:

  1. the development of the strategic plan
  2. the implementation of the plan
  3. the emotional fall out that may happen due to the changes throughout the workplace.

It is important to recognise that managers may have heightened emotions themselves about the changes, including uncertainty about their own roles and those of their colleagues

If you missed part one in this series you can read it here!

Where managers are required to deliver the news about the change project to their teams, they may feel apprehensive about the news that they are delivering, and could benefit from some coaching or a chance to role-play this with another colleague in advance. Trevor-Roberts offers this as a part of our Career Transition services.

Reactions to change vary and, at times, it can be hard to know what to say to an employee who is dealing with difficult emotions related to the uncertainty of the change. We write more about uncertainty here

As a manager, dealing with the emotions displayed (both overtly or covertly!) by your team is part and parcel of a change process. It seems obvious then, to say that understanding the range of normal reactions to change and being prepared to deal with them is paramount. 

Some emotional reactions to change may include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or withdrawing from others
  • Feeling irritable or overreacting to small things
  • Self-doubt
  • Anger
  • Shock and disbelief
  • Confusion

These emotions can be directed at you, as the manager or HR professional, at co-workers, or just at the organisation generally. It’s important to prepare managers for the range of possible emotions they may encounter from team members and also give them advice on ways to handle the conversations about emotions.

During a change project managers will become the source of information about the changes for their team. Make sure your managers are supported with a good understanding of why the changes are happening, the timeline of changes and also that they know when future updates will come.

Keep your updates to managers as regular and consistent as possible, so that they are able to support employees and, where possible, act as a source of information and knowledge for their teams.

Ensure managers are aware of the counselling services you have available through an EAP provider. We recommend AccessEAP. This is a great source of help during a change project as it can help to take the pressure off your managers to become counsellors to their team, which is not their role.

Encourage your managers to maintain a healthy life balance. Managers can often bear the brunt of high expectations during a change project and it is important that they take time to look after their own needs and deal with their own emotions. Many managers will often feel uncertain about their own careers during times of organisational change. Your managers may respond to this uncertainty by working longer hours. Encourage them to stay healthy and balanced during the change process, as this will give them more resilience and a better ability to manage the process well in the long run.

Remember, your management team are your key to a successful transition and it’s important to consider their needs and make sure they are appropriately supported.

It is important to remember that during organisational change, no one is immune from the stressful effects caused by the threat of job loss and displacement. Ensuring the wellbeing of all concerned is critical during these trying times.

Now we would like to hear from you. Comment below about the emotions  you experienced when leading or experiencing an organisational change... What was done well? What could have been done better?  

Read Part Three in this series here

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Tags: Career Transition, Leadership, Restructures

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