Leadership Through Change

Presenter: Bobbie Flight VN, St Francis Business Academy a training and development re-source with in practice support

Anyone enjoying change thrust upon them is likely to be in the minority. The majority of us will experience feelings of anxiety which could have a negative impact on our work and makes the requirement for effective leadership through change imperative.

‘The Webinar Vet’ organised Bobbie Flight to lead a webinar discussing how to manage a team effectively through periods of transition. In this fast moving world, change is inevitable if a business is to move forward, and smoothing the road through this process can only be of benefit to both the team and the business.

Bobbie started this session by setting a familiar scene within a practice. She described an imaginary team which included a qualified vet nurse, Matt who had been relied upon for years as the ‘go to guy’ for always getting a job done, and is highly valued by the entire practice. Lindsay is another qualified nurse and despite being very good she lacks confidence and is generally considered a second choice for ‘getting stuff done’, with the majority preferring to rely on Matt. Bobbie asked us to consider how change within the practice could influence these two characters. My gut instinct was to assume that Lindsay would be the employee to struggle most, being less confident than her counterpart Matt, who seems highly capable in every situation. However Bobbie explained that this is a common misconception and actually as Matt has the most to lose, he would find change more challenging than Lindsay whose confidence may well grow in a different situation.

Bobbie explained that it is really important we try and anticipate the reaction of our team and understand the anxieties they may feel. With this in mind, Bobbie listed a set of rules to follow when implementing change, which included the ever essential ‘communication, communication and communication’. Bobbie advises that ‘Chinese Whispers’ need to be avoided, and this is best achieved by ensuring communication is always achieved internally before communicating externally. It is also very important to keep your team aware of successes along the pathway of change and even more importantly to celebrate them.

Obstacles can often be cited by employees through change and Bobbie explains the best way to neutralise these is to form a working party from all departments which could include a nurse, a receptionist and vet. This allows for a problem to be looked at from all angles and this team should be encouraged to come up with a solution. By giving staff responsibility and creating a solution based culture, the team will feel empowered to solve problems, and hopefully, over time, problems will be solved before you even know they existed!

This webinar is essential viewing for any leader, be it in practice or indeed any other type of business. Change is inevitable if you want to run a successful business and, if managed incorrectly, can have a negative impact both on staff and your business. The information offered within this blog is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amount of useful advice delivered. However there was one particular rule I felt should be mentioned here. It is always essential to ‘take one step at a time’ by choosing small changes initially which you know are easily achievable, and openly celebrate with your team once your objectives have been reached. This will create a base of confidence not just for yourself but for your entire team when those larger steps need to be taken.

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