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Managing Risk, Managing Your Team

If you are in a management role, you will know that much of your success has depended on you completely accepting your position as a decision maker, problem solver and leader.

To function at your best, you have been empowered with the responsibility to make choices – choices that will often affect your entire team and organisation. It is a big responsibility and one that has required you to be absolutely dedicated to your position and your team around you.

As a decision maker and problem solver, you have to be prepared to embrace the various scenarios that can occur when the big decisions are made. You may be asked to take a leap of faith at times as part of your responsibility as a manager of a team.  If you haven’t yet, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’ this will happen. As the person at the front of your team, being prepared to embrace the risks associated with change and innovation is a large and important part of your role.

Managing the risks involved with change or innovation can feel quite isolating for those in a management position. While it can feel lonely at times, there are a few things to remember when you are directing your team through a risky period of time that will get both you and them through these rough patches.

Get Comfortable being a bit Uncomfortable

As a leader you have to be willing to pay the price of disturbing your own psychological comfort by choosing to change. It may become necessary to defend yourself against traditional ways of thinking and acting. You may even have to do without peer group or social approval for a time. You may also encounter resistance, especially if you are young and new at the job. Even though most people are now receptive to change and are used to it in their workplace, it can still create resistance in some circumstances when people are asked to accept a new procedure or change an old habit. When you believe in your decision, simply insist, even if you must do so repeatedly. As a leader you are a role model. Remain calm and unemotional, but determined.

Communicate the ‘Why’ of your Strategy

People will be more likely to accept change when they understand the reasons for it and see you embracing it. Your team members know that change is inevitable and that your organisation can either capitalise on change or be swept away by it. Change is a part of our everyday lives in the workplace. Emphasise that you are not urging change for the sake of change, but that change will bring improvement in terms of productivity and opportunity for your organisation and every member of your team. Try and project how the venture will improve a situation or potentially solve an ongoing problem to give the ‘why’ some clear context.

Set an Example

Although you may be extremely nervous about your risk taking venture on the inside, try to project an image of self-confidence for your own benefit and for the benefit of your team. Remember, for a goal to be motivational it has to involve a certain amount of risk to be challenging and worthwhile. Set an example by being determined to reach the next milestone and others will follow in your steps.

When they see you not only survive, but thrive, they will be more willing to take the risks associated with a given change.

Get Excited

Enthusiasm is a great tool to manage yourself and others through a period of risk and change. The nervous excitement that can come as an associated feeling when something risky is taking place can be channelled into excitement as opposed to negativity or anxiety. Instead of dwelling on the negatives of what could happen, focus on the overwhelming positives that can happen as part of taking a risk.

Are you managing your team through a risky transition period? LMA’s free eBook The ABC’s of Teamwork will assist manager and team members alike to understand the benefits of working together for a greater cause.