How to Guide Your Employees Through Leadership Change

Tactfully communicating the news of leadership change to employees will help diminish stress. Assuming employees understand the changes your company is going through can jeopardize morale and productivity.  Leadership change can be off-putting to staff.  It is crucial to clearly communicate how the leadership change will impact them and the organization, and how the transition process will take effect.  When employees don’t fully understand a change, it can become a barrier to commitment and can result in resistance or even turnover.

Prepare a Leadership Change Support Plan

  • Let it be known your sole agenda is to support them and hear what’s on their minds.
  • Hold team and individual meetings during which employees can express concerns and hopes.
  • Ask your employees what their concerns are.
  • Ask your employees what information they need rather than telling them what you think they need to know.

How to Use Employee Feedback

  • Responding to Employee feedback can promote engagement, productivity and morale when done correctly.
  • Answer employee questions as openly as possible. If some decisions have not yet been made, commit to delivering that information as soon as it becomes available.
  • Employees respond well to having their feedback heard and valued, especially during leadership changes.  It helps reduce fears of irrelevance or termination.

Stages of Change Related Stress

During periods of leadership change many employees go through stages of denial, resistance, self-blame and acceptance.  Being empathetic to these stages can help you refocus your team’s energy onto productive tasks.

Don’t Rush the Pace of Change.

The rate employees will move through the negative stages of change depends on the timing and intensity of the change, as well as open communication. Lead, don’t rush your employees through the leadership change emotions. This will keep employees from becoming paralyzed with stress and move them to a place of positive energy and productivity.


For more tips on employee engagement, check out 5 Ways to Reduce Turnover and Improve Engagement.