Disruption in the workplace can come from anywhere. Be it a global pandemic, an office renovation project, or a software roll-out… here’s how to lead your team through disruptions.
Managers and leadership across the globe have been dealing with “unprecedented times” for the last two years. COVID-19 has been a significant disruption in just about every aspect of our lives. While the pandemic’s disruption has come on a mega-scale, workplace disruptions are nothing new for managers or leadership. Now, more than ever, it’s incredibly important to have the competencies to navigate managerial decision-making.
At the helm of many of the decision-making opportunities in a workplace is the CEO. However, that’s not the only manager who should have relevant skills and competencies in managing disruptions. The more trained and engaged managers are in mitigating disruption, the healthier the workplace.
Address Mental Leadership Challenges During Disruption
- Internalized Cognitive Biases – Where managers consciously (or unconsciously) apply biases to their current situation, despite each situation is unique to previous disruptions.
- Aversion to Change Management – Change is hard. Embracing and managing a team of employees through change is even harder. Managers who struggle with change management competencies will have a challenging time moving through disruptions.
- Hesitancy to Directly Communicate – Direct communication with staff, leadership, and stakeholders is important to maintaining some semblance of normalcy through a disruption. Lack of, hesitancy, or complete failure of communication is a great way to lose buy-in from those that you’ll need it from most during a disruptive time.
- Failure to Create Contingency Plans – Considering all avenues of outcomes is important to expertly pivot and react to disruption in the workplace. Be prepared for situations beyond the one that you’re dealing with. For example, plan appropriately if an office renovation will take longer than initially planned. How will you accommodate displaced employees whose regular work schedules have been disrupted?
3 Routes to Better Decision-Making during Disruptions
- Focus on Building the Right Decision-Making Team
Making the right decisions in leadership means having the correct team and voices included in those decisions. After a potential (or impending) disruption is identified, the first step should be to consider which perspectives should be involved when making the decisions around the disruption plan.
- Gather Data and Metrics to Build your Case
Making the right decisions means making informed decisions. The more information, resources, and research that you gather around the disruption (and resulting decision) makes it airtight. If there are rumblings or questions around the result of the decision-making process, having the right information to rely on can be a major lifesaver as a manager.
- Recognize if you need External Guidance
Not sure if you have the internal team for optimized decision-making around your impending disruption? Consider a consultant or tap into your professional network to see if anyone else has relevant experience with a similar disruption. External guidance can bring in a fresh perspective with less bias than those who are experiencing the disruption in real-time.