How a change in Leadership affects teams | Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 03, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 03, 2019

How a change in Leadership affects teams

Everyone can agree on how leadership is a crucial aspect in any organisation’s functionality. It’s the template based on which organisations thrive to compete in the competitive 21st century markets where everything is dynamic and mostly unprecedented. Organisations thus focus quite extensively in selecting or developing leaders to run the functional units of their organisations, and sometimes the organisation itself. Leaders differ from bosses in aspects of teamwork, employee engagement and equitable contribution towards the ulterior goal of the organisation. It’s to be reiterated that the compatibility of a leader and their team is a must for the smooth functioning of any organisation. A change in leadership is often seen as a nervy situation for most organisations. So, today we look at how a change in leadership can have an effect, both positive and negative, on the team or the workplace, and how to deal with it.

Rise of the resistance factor

An immediate effect of leadership change is the development of a resistance factor. It is mainly because employees become used to the ways of the previous individual in charge. Hence, in most cases, an indirect resistance towards the new leader can be observed. From the employee’s end, it is always wise to have the ability to adapt to the new leadership and develop a smooth communication channel with the new leader. A new leadership may bring substantial or negligible changes, but remaining open to new ideas is key to a smooth transition. On the other side, as a newly appointed leader, it’s wise to keep an open mind. Decisions should be made based on how the team functioned previously and the issues it normally had to deal with. This helps to build a rapport with the team members as a prologue to setting up changes down the line in the future. It’s important to understand that as soon as the resistance factor is catered to, every other piece of the puzzle slowly falls into place.

Expectation mismatch

Sometimes, leaders don’t take the time to understand their team or employees. Most allot minimum time in getting acquainted with the team. This creates a certain gap between what the leader expects and what the team does. Likewise, a leader might expect the current team to work like their previous one. Thinking that, they might adopt a plan of action that worked well for the previous team but may not work at all for their new one. Similarly, team members may expect that their newly appointed leader may be or is like the previous individual. This can be easily solved if both the leader and their team take the time to get to know each party better. This will not only smoothen the functioning, but also improve expectation management.

Reactions and responses from employees

A new leader often classifies employees based on whether they responded or reacted to the change in leadership. Responding to the change means viewing the change as a tool to rediscover performances, productivity and credibility. This segment of employees are most often perceived to be adapting well to the change for the betterment of themselves and the organisation as a whole. Reacting to the change means seeing the change as something quite opposing to their comfort zone. This usually leads to a fall in productivity that leads to absenteeism and quality degradation. From a managerial point of view, the leader has to be open about receiving ideas and undertake an affable approach in getting to know their employees. This reduces negative reactions from the employees, and makes them feel comfortable working under the new leader.

Shifts in the productivity meter

Leadership changes are often followed by changes in the work dynamic as well. Activities are redefined. Processes are redesigned. All these are done keeping in mind that most leaders want to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the jobs they do. However, adapting to newer ways often leaves employees confused and somewhat in doubt about the whole shift. So, as a leader, make sure that the changes you bring about are easily understood and applicable. This will result in a rise in the productivity and efficacy levels in the workplace. From the employee’s side, when you come across such changes, make sure to get clarified on matters that seem grey to you. The productivity meter can either spike or fleet depending on the leader, the team members and the interaction between them.


Naveed is studying Marketing in BUP. In spite of being tired all the time, he’s always up for a good game of football. Reach him at

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