Leaders Help Others Navigate Change

We are creatures of habit, yet we experience change in every facet of our lives. Some of these changes are good, some aren’t, but regardless of where the changes fall on the spectrum, they all require a mental shift.

In her ground-breaking book Death and Dying, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross discusses the stages of grief. She identified five non-linear stages grieving people go through before finally gaining acceptance. Later, she realized these same stages relate to all life changes, be it personal or professional, and the Change Curve was created.


Again, these aren’t linear, and there’s no set amount of time anyone remains in a stage. The order can also shift, depending on circumstances. Backtracking can be common.

It’s good to first recognize where you are on the curve throughout the change process, then observe where others on your team fall. If you are a leader, it is likely that you’ve had more time to process the change than your direct reports. This means you’re probably further along on the curve. This is good, because it gives you the ability to help others through the change.

What these five stages look like for each individual and how to manage them is the best way to create alignment within a team. You all want to end up in the same place, even though you will not all end up there at the same time.

So what should you look out for in times of change?

  • Beware of reduced capacity
  • Do more, not less, of the basics
  • Commit to transparency, empathy, and authenticity
  • Understand the roles of symbolism and inspiration.

We will take a closer look at each of these throughout this 11-week series.

Remember, everything you do makes a person’s day better or worse. What are you going to do with that power?

Thanks for reading,

Alan Feirer

This is the first post in an 11-part series discussing what leaders can do to effectively navigate through times of change. Follow along as we explore the Kubler-Ross Change Curve, differences in DiSC personalities, and the roles of symbolism during change.

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