It could be through an official email, at an open-house meeting, a one-on-one talk or a team session. Whichever way you find out about it, one thing becomes clear — change is afoot.
No matter how positive a takeover, merger, corporate restructuring, or leadership change might be, it needs to be managed effectively. Research by McKinsey shows that 70% of all transformations fail, and this includes changes in leadership. Employees can be drastically affected by ineffective change management. Daunted by the ‘new way’, they may resist change or struggle to adapt.
But human beings, much like organizations, are highly adaptable. And while times of change could make you feel helpless, asking the right questions can empower you with the answers you need to make the best of the situation. That’s why change management experts suggest you ask these questions to better understand a change in leadership.
Question 1: Why is the leadership changing?
The motivations behind it could be many. It could be as simple as a leader feeling it is time to move on, or a job restructure that makes it difficult for some to continue in the same management role. Or revised business objectives might require a new management with a different set of skills. As an employee, knowing why this change is necessary, or is happening, makes it easier to understand how it can affect your own work and routines.
Question 2: What does this change mean to me?
Some leadership changes, no matter how far up or down the ladder, have the potential to impact you. So, this straightforward question is essential to be better prepared. A new management can result in changes in your team structure, an addition of new roles, skilling opportunities to enable role transfer, introduction of new products or the exploration of new markets. Apart from disrupting your typical day at work, these changes can transform the roles and opportunities you are usually given and boost your career.
Question 3: What if I support (or do not support) this change?
While supporting it can definitely open up opportunities, enhance your reputation in the company, and improve job security, not agreeing with all the elements of the new moment is understandable. Asking this question lets you evaluate your options and help the management see the opportunities and challenges that could come your way. They could even address the specific elements of change you disagree with.
At a time of flux, these questions can help you align your goals with the organization’s evolving trajectory, and find ways to succeed in spite of, or rather, on the back of a change of guard. Since change is a given, why not be prepared to assess what it means for you?