Ask Amy — Practical Advice for Supervisors: How Do I Lead My Team Through Organizational Change, Part 2?

A Message from Amy Bosley, Vice President, Organizational Development and Human Resources

It’s hard to believe that spring break 2019 has come and gone.

As someone who deeply appreciates this total reward, I often found myself reminiscing about my career at Valencia College as I enjoyed my coffee and the “Today” show each morning of the break. I started working at the College in 1999, first as a part-time faculty member and later as a tenure-track faculty member on the East Campus. My first office was in Building 1 (well before any renovations), and I had a wall covered in cork panels that I filled with my boys’ paintings and drawings.

I had lunch most every Tuesday with my colleagues from the Speech department: Mary Allen, Kathleen Perri, Bill Gombash and others who literally taught me how to teach over sandwiches and Diet Cokes. I’ve been thinking a lot about those lunches, that office, the tight community on the East Campus, the first reading circle I attended with Ann Puyana and Helen Clarke, and my first students.

So much has changed at Valencia College in my 18 years in a full-time role.

As I noted in the February Ask Amy column, we are in a period of substantial organizational change … and with more to come. We have candidates for vice president of student affairs scheduled to spend time with us during the first week of April and will follow shortly with candidates for campus president for both the East and Osceola Regions. New leaders, new initiatives, new technology — so much is evolving and our sheer size and scale amplifies our capacity to manage many changes at one time.

In the last column, I suggested that one strategy for helping your team through organizational change is to clearly locate yourself in that change, take stock of your own perspective and feelings, and support your colleagues in doing the same. I mentioned that, as a leader, others will look to you to help gauge their own feelings and reactions. It’s like hitting turbulence in an airplane and looking to see how the flight attendant reacts. As long as he or she keeps pouring sodas, we must be okay.

It’s hard to be the person who is both experiencing change and supporting others through it at the same time. Having your own worries, thoughts and emotions about changes that are coming is completely normal. How you express those worries, thoughts and emotions, however, may have a considerable impact on those you lead.

Being mindful in times of change — mindful of your thoughts, words and actions — is a critical leadership skill.

Your team is looking to you for reassurance, support and a steadying presence.

Be aware of your words and who you share them with, take great care to avoid gossip and help others deal with facts rather than myths or hypotheses. Create a culture of calm, honest, trustworthy and transparent leadership. And if you need support processing your own thoughts, feelings and emotions, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted advisor, a mentor, our Employee Relations team, your Regional Organizational Development and Human Resources Solution Center team members or the Employee Assistance Program.

By taking good care of yourself, you will be able to mindfully support your team.

Ask Amy” is designed to provide supervisors with guidance to successfully navigate opportunities and challenges in your daily work, as you create a culture for employee success within your teams. Each month, I, along with featured guest contributors, will address a question and offer practical solutions from which all supervisors can benefit.

If you would like to ask a question, simply email me with “Ask Amy” in the subject line. Submissions will be included anonymously in the Supervisor Segment and The Grove, and will be addressed monthly as they are received.

1 Comment

  • Jimmy Sherfey said:

    Well said, Amy.

    AMWed, 20 Mar 2019 11:59:27 +0000Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:59:27 +0000am19,11:59 am

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