People process change and progress through the change and disruption at different rates. A best practice is to check in with individual team members or groups to gauge where they are in the process. You could also take the Emotion Quiz to determine the stage or stages your team may currently be in. Review the emotions and thoughts listed for each phase of the Emotion Curve, then reflect on the following:

  • Where do you think you are on the curve?
  • How aligned is your stage with where your team/others are on the curve?
  • If there is misalignment, are you ahead of them or behind them?

If you are ahead of your team on the curve, as is often the case with leaders during times of change, you may need to pause, ask thoughtful questions, and listen. What can you do to connect them to where you are on the journey?


  • Bring others along. In order for meaningful and sustained changes or improvements to take hold, you can’t go it alone. Seek to create a sense of shared ownership in which everyone is a part of the solution. Delegate tasks that will challenge people to learn and grow while shaping the outcomes. In doing so, you’ll create a “pull” rather than a push to move forward together.
  • Listen and think before responding. Rather than focusing on how to convince others to “move on” to the next stage, take a moment to stay neutral and understand their viewpoints. What is leading them to think and feel differently than you are? By pausing and seeking to understand, you’ll not only build empathy, but you’ll know more precisely how and why others are in a different stage.
  • Manage the message. When leading and communicating change, it is important to come across as confident and committed to the effort, but you must be able to adapt and meet people where they are. When confronted with resistance, look for common interests and underlying concerns or feelings, and address those on an individual basis rather than continuing to push the overarching change agenda.

If you are behind your team on the curve, then how might you find ways to catch up? What are they seeing that you might be missing, and how can you tap into that?


  • Get committed. It can be challenging to lead through change when the engagement of your people is higher than your own. If you’re lacking commitment, it is often apparent in your demeanor and the way you communicate. Meet with your employees to gain their perspectives and learn how they are experiencing the change. Try to find sources of inspiration that you can connect to.
  • Project a positive attitude. If you look on the downside, you may bring others down with you. The good news is that while negativity is infectious, so is positivity. But it needs to be sincere. So get your own head in order first. If you’re disengaged, what’s causing you to feel that way? What don’t you understand or what are you seeing? Find out who has more information and talk to those who do. Once you believe in it, you’ll be able to adjust your outlook and attitude.
  • Find resilience after setbacks. Setbacks can happen at any time, especially during disruptive events or crises. It can be easy to be thrown off track and harder to bounce back. Resilience is about taking action. A positive step forward, a small win, a new goal that takes attention off of the past and creates excitement about the future. A belief that you will succeed eventually.

Based on your observations of your team(s), what actions can you take as a leader to help move your employees forward?

Special Edition with
Gary Burnison

Get inspired with a series of heartfelt opinions from Korn Ferry CEO, and author of Leadership U, Gary Burnison