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Dealing with Change Exercises for Team Leaders?


I am putting together a modular programme for Team Leaders. I am after an exercise to illustrate reasons for change, barriers, resistance and the team leaders role.
Has anyone ran something similar - has an exercise that has worked by using a hands on approach to change rather than talk and chalk all the time.
Jane Buckels

4 Responses

  1. Barriers to change.
    This is an interesting one because the barrier to change is normally the team leader.

    We cannot get rid of this barrier by telling the team leaders about paragraph one because they will not accept it.

    The only thing to do is to create a scenario in which the team leaders figure it out for themselves.

    Ask them what would happen if they told their partners to do the ironing.

    The usual answer is that they would be told where to go.

    This shows that they understand that the human reaction to being told what to do is to resist because that is the way all humans are hardwired.

    Then ask them to describe the number of ways that they as a team leader tell people what to do at work.

    Target setting, scheduling, allocation of duties/resources, timtables, logistics, policy, strategy.

    Ask the team leaders why, when they are at work, do they expect people to do what they are told when in a social situation they would never dream of telling their partners what to do because they understand the negative reaction.

    Having acknowledged this lack of congruence between their behaviour at work and in a social situation the final exercise is to determine what should be the change in their behaviour at work in order to show respect and value for their workforce.

    They will come up with the usual stuff about listening and communication and feeback.

    The holy grail is to ask them what are they physically going to do to show their workforce they are listening, to actually deliver appropriate feedback and demonstrate that communication is working.

    The deliverable for the session is then a tool that they can use to behave differently, to make a difference, when they go back to their teams.

    Good luck.

  2. going for change
    In every case about change management, I’ve found that dealing with the real issues is really the only way to go. I don’t agree that team leaders are “always” the barrier.

    In my experience, it’s always important to value the people that appear to be resisting as they may have a point that others are missing. Unpacking what the resistance is about is an essential step –
    For example “It wouldn’t work”

    • “Can you give more detail about why particularly it wouldn’t work?”
    • “Is there a better way of dealing with… other than the change that’s being recommended?”
    • if it was up to you, what would you adviced be?”

    I find an adaptation of Geraldine Bown’s model goes down very well. I can send it if you email me. It would certainly help with designing a good exercise for “reasons for change, barriers, resistance and the team leaders role.”

    And to emphasise again, take a current issue that needs tackling and work with them on that.

  3. Ownership of Change
    Peter was absolutely right. It is about ownership. If the team works together to explore issues related to change, to identify problems or barriers to change, and then to work out what they are going to do, it is much more likely to happen.
    We use a series of cartoons/metaphors to do this in a fun, non-threatening way. Do contact me if you would like further information.

  4. Practical and quick
    One quick way to get people thinking is simply to move the training room around at lunchtime. Switch from U shape to caberet or classroom or whatever, and move the participants to sit next to difficult people. Make sure there’s a good reason, like different exercises in the afternoon or switching to flip charts rather than slides.

    Odds are they’ll feel uncomfortable, unsettled and grumpy – get them to explore that.

    It’s a quick and effective way to engage people in understanding the feelings surrounding change, and you can get them to think about how you as ‘the team leader’ could have handled it better and what your role should have been.

    Good luck


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