Three Key Factors to Lead Powerful Teams Through Change

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As we were in the middle of a large transformation in an organization, a manager wanted to be confident that his employees would not only be successful through the change but motivated and excited about the change.  Change research and psychology points us to three areas that are key to employee empowerment and are often challenged by change: 

  1. Confidence
  2. Connectedness
  3. Conviction 

When leaders are able to identify the challenged area(s), they have greater success leading employees through a successful change together.


Confident employees are crystal clear about their work expectations and have aligned their skills to achieve their expected outcomes. Confident employees know their work and have ideas to improve the way they do business. The words below are characteristics you will find in confident employees.


Confidence requires purposeful, mindful adjustment to changes within and beyond the control of the employee. An employee with high confidence will generally ask many questions, offer insight, suggest new ways of doing work, and contribute to the team in a variety of helpful and positive ways.

An employee who is less confident will generally ask more questions about tasks and objectives than strategy and innovation.

Confidence is not directly associated with age, years on the job, or experience doing the work. Confidence is directly aligned with a person’s internal self-talk, self-esteem, respect, knowledge and abilities.

Confidence and Change:

When change is introduced, people often experience fear or anxiety that they will not be able to do their job successfully through the change, and they worry that they won't have the skills, knowledge, or proper direction to achieve success.  If they were an expert at their work previously, they fear that they will lose their "expert status."

Their confidence is challenged.

As soon as the change is introduced, leaders can provide opportunities for each employee to begin their individual change journey for the change.  Using the Change Barometer and T.E.A.C.H. methodology from the B.E. Organizational Change Leadership Certification Program offered through Vreeman Consulting, leaders develop skills to establish an evolving plan, partnering together to help each employee achieve success through change.

Confidence is engaging their thoughts and behaviors.

My mentor and friend Jill Johnson recently published the award-winning book, Compounding your Confidence, that provides a “blueprint” for actions that individuals can take to increase their confidence and reach their full potential. Jill inspires readers to make shifts in behavior, thinking, and self-talk to “compound your confidence.”


Employees who have developed a connection to each other, have friends at work, and have established a feeling of “family” are less likely to search for other employment and more likely to achieve remarkable results together. They can articulate how the valuable and unique skills they bring to the team contribute to the team’s collective outcomes, and they are more likely to be loyal and transparent in their work.

Employees who have developed a connection will seek ways to support and empower others and will encourage each other to stretch toward greater goals. The words below are characteristics you will find in connected employees.


Connected teams will often use the word “we” to describe their team and the teams’ efforts. They participate in inclusive activities and have established communication practices and other team agreements that work for all team players.

Connectedness and Change:

When change is initiated, employees often express concern about the organizational design and business processes that maintain their work norms and help them achieve results.  They wonder if they will have the same team and report to the same leader or if there will be adjustments with their "family" system.  They wonder how and when they will receive messages about the changes, when they need to become engaged in the planning and how their team will update their business practices together.

Their connectedness is challenged.

Great leaders work with teams who are challenged in the connectedness area by establishing team plans to engage all team members through the process and they create communication plans that include clear, timely and meaningful messaging.  They establish team agreements around work coverage while team members spend time in meetings planning for the change.  They share information openly about the change initiative and ask for feedback, buy in, and suggestions.  They bring the group together to become a powerful change-planning team, using the collective strengths of all team members and utilizing team-building, change resiliency tools that offer insight into each employee's individual response to change.

Connectedness engages their heart.

Dr. Robert Sicora of Sicora Consulting uses Discovery Insights Profiles and team building activities to establish strong teams who use their personality style to establish a culture of trust. These activities in the midst of change have lasting, positive impact for team connectedness.   Learn more about Dr. Sicora's research here.


Employees who align their personal and professional values with their work and experience a sense of self-fulfillment will invest in the future of the organization through better service to customers, improved work practices, and engagement in organizational strategy. They are passionate and inspirational to others. They care about the work they do and recognize the great impact.

Teams who achieve conviction are resourceful, thoughtful, and at times unstoppable. They will dedicate time, their own personal resources, and their best ideas to do this work. Employees with conviction often focus on the areas below:


Conviction and Change:

When change is initiated, employees do a values-check.  They want to know that the change will not affect their ability to achieve their greater purpose, and if it does, they want to know WHY the decision was made and what impact it will have.  If they are not satisfied with the change, they will not engage in change planning and will instead often engage in exit planning.

Conviction is engaging their soul, the very core of who they are.

Pam Borton, author of On POINT, describes how conviction was used to establish powerful teams of women who achieved their dream of winning basketball championships. Pam and her team often talk about building “fire” in people to work hard and achieve their very best. This is conviction-  the “fire” and passion that makes hard work fulfilling and self-satisfying...and less like "work."

The 3 C's are powerful.

When people are experiencing confidence, connectedness, and conviction in their work, the energy, talents, and relationships bring their work results to the next level (and beyond!).  These teams are also the teams that attract employees easily and have less voluntary turnover.

Think about your most healthy, productive, fun team.  What made it a great team?  Which of the 3 C's were most prominent and important to that team?

Carolyn Vreeman is President of Vreeman Consulting, LLC and Founder of the B.E. Organizational Change Leadership Program.  Carolyn is passionate about engaging people across organizations to achieve success through change together.

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