05 May Tips on leading teams through change
In a recent piece for School Business Affairs magazine, we discuss how kitchen teams can come together as one during times of change, and the four key qualities great leaders possess that help them to achieve this. There are important business insights to be gained here, whether you work in the food industry or not. You can read the full article here (page 19), but I’d like to extrapolate some key principles from the piece for your own knowledge.
If you are leading an entire organization, a small group or even just a conversation, leadership is more important than ever. Take it from us; we lead people through change for a living.
Here are four essential concepts to keep in mind as you seek to promote communication and efficiency during this time of radical adjustment.
1. Stay focused on your vision, not the obstacle course before it.
Some leaders may but get lost in the “how” and become discouraged. How exactly are they going to get from Point A to Point B? The key is to not worry so much about the “how” but to instead focus on the goal.
2. Give front-line staff a platform.
Talking with staff at every level of the organization can uncover valuable and often hidden information. Too often, upper management isn’t engaging with the on-the-ground staff who have crucial knowledge about day-to-day operations. For example, it is not uncommon for front-line kitchen teams to know exactly how much waste their organization is creating, while the CFO has no idea.
3. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
Priorities are more important than timelines. Without priorities, managers can lose sight of their goals and compromise where they shouldn’t. When budgets are slashed and departments are forced to cut corners, it’s easy to abandon important investments because ultimately, management didn’t make prioritize them enough.
4. Track progress and use it as a powerful motivational tool.
It’s easy for teams to become overwhelmed in the moment, especially during stressful production periods. That’s why it’s important to help staff remember where they started, where they’re going, and why they’re on this difficult journey in the first place. Get your teams together — be it over the phone, through video chat or safely in person, if necessary — and remind them that their hard work matters. This macro view can motivate teams when they most need it.
Strong leadership is always critical to success, but even more so during change, when emotions can run high. With these vital tools in place, you will have more success bringing your teams into the new and uncertain frontiers ahead. We’re rooting for you!