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Guiding your team through the implementation phase after the final decision can be particularly challenging. This is the time when the rubber meets the road, and the emotional stakes are high—not just for your team, but for you as well.

On my own journey, I’ve led six restructures and faced three redundancies. While I became more adept each time, it remained tough, especially when I too was impacted.

I found managing my own emotions and anxiety while leading my team required a careful balance of self-awareness, empathy, and strategic action. Today, I’d like to talk to you about empathy…

It’s important to distinguish between these two.
Supportive friendships, warm hugs, and acknowledging someone else’s feelings — that’s sympathy. Empathy is about stepping into someone else’s shoes, listening attentively, truly connecting, feeling what the other person is experiencing, and understanding their perspective.

In my experience, your empathy as a leader is crucial when entering the final decision and implementation phases for six reasons:

1. Trust and Loyalty
Your team feels understood and valued, which is especially important given that restructure can often erode that feeling of self-worth.

2. Better Communication
Tailoring your messages to your team’s emotions and concerns creates clearer understanding, reduces anxiety, and increases cooperation—a sense of collective support.

3. Morale and Motivation
Everyone reacts differently to change, and every day can be emotionally different. Being able to keep abreast of the emotional needs of your team helps you provide the right support and encouragement they need to stay focused. Whether it’s permission to work from home, open-door meetings, regular one-on-ones, or opportunities for the team to come together, your support speaks volumes.

4. Reduces Resistance to Change
Acknowledging and addressing the fears and anxieties of your team members—as well as being vulnerable about your own—breaks down barriers created by misunderstanding or misperception. It reduces the possibility of a sense of division between the team and you as a leader.

5. Promotes Collaboration and Teamwork
Understanding the perspectives and challenges faced by your team helps you identify potential issues early and work with them to find solutions. This can prevent small problems from escalating into major obstacles.

In a nutshell, being an empathetic leader during this time will help you create a supportive and understanding team environment and support you as a leader in transitioning your team from the final decision to the implementation of the change.

Kia kaha…

It’s your journey – travel it well with Turas.

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