19 Mar 23 / Blog

Leading in change

In today’s fast-paced business environment, we all find ourselves leading in change. Whether it’s new technology, evolving customer needs, or shifting market conditions, organisations must be agile and responsive to stay ahead. As a leader of people, how do you keep your team aligned, engaged, and adaptable – when you don’t even know what the next change will be? Here are some key strategies that you can help with leading in change, including tactical empathy, active listening, and learning from behavioral science.

Tactical Empathy

First and foremost, tactical empathy is key. This means being able to put yourself in your teams’ shoes and understand how they may be feeling during a time of change. It’s easy to get caught up in the goals and objectives of the organization, but without empathy, you’ll miss critical signals from your team. Tactical empathy involves recognizing and acknowledging the emotions that come with change. And the behavioural scientists tell us that resistance to change comes from one of three places – anxiety, apathy or overwhelm.

How to understand what’s going on for your team and make sure you’re leading in change? One way is by taking the time to actively listen to your team. This means creating a safe space where employees can share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas openly. It also involves being fully present during these conversations, and being curious about what your team-members are saying. It can involve vulnerability there may be times when you need to put up your hand and acknowledge that you haven’t gotten it right.

Autonomy, Competence & Belonging

Research has shown that people are more likely to adopt new behaviours when they feel a sense of autonomy, competence, and belonging. As a leader, you can leverage these principles by giving your team members a sense of control over their work, providing opportunities for them to develop new skills, and fostering a sense of connection and belonging within the team.


Another key concept from behavioural science is the idea of “nudging” people towards desired behaviours. This involves making small changes to the environment or processes that make it easier for people to do the right thing. For example, if you want your team to adopt a new software tool, you could make it the default option when they log in, or create step-by-step guides to help them get started.


Finally, leaders can also use the power of storytelling to lead in times of change. Humans are wired for storytelling, and research has shown that stories are more memorable and engaging than dry statistics or bullet points. By sharing stories of how others have successfully adapted to change, you can inspire your team and create a sense of shared purpose. You can also use storytelling to help your team members understand the why behind the change, which can make it feel less arbitrary or threatening. And if you have truly listened, and understood why your team is resisting change, then the stories you tell take on a power all of their own.

In conclusion, leading in times of change requires a combination of tactical empathy, active listening, and learning from behavioural science. By putting yourself in your team’s shoes, creating a safe space for them to share their thoughts and concerns, and fostering a sense of belonging, you can help your team adapt to new circumstances and thrive in a fast-changing world. And by using the power of storytelling, you can inspire your team and create a sense of shared purpose that will help them stay motivated and engaged as change happens all aorund.

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