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  • Writer's pictureJenn Donahue

Dare to Rise: How to Navigate Change as a Leader


Are you growing, changing, or transforming as a leader? Are you unsure how this will impact your team?

When you dare to rise as a leader, it can bring about great change. But when you commit to the goal or dream that you want to achieve, you can do it in a way that feels good to everyone.

You can create a plan by starting with small calculated steps. For engineers, I find that this is way easier than taking a giant leap of faith. Map it out by asking yourself, “how do I get to where I want to go?” and then break it down into steps that are possible.


This change typically is a positive thing for you, your team, and your business. However, if you do not approach it the right way, it can actually create a negative impact on your people.


Rising and growing as a team, organization, or business can be scary sometimes. But if you can prioritize openness, transparency, inclusivity, and trust, you and your team will have a much smoother time getting to where you want to go and you’re much more likely to achieve success.

Your team will want to follow you wherever you’re headed and will be motivated, committed, and inspired to get there.


Here are 5 steps to leading your team through change as you rise to new heights.


1. Build Trust

When you learn how to build trust with your team through communication, delegation, and vulnerability, you create an environment that easily fosters growth. Trust is one of the most valuable currencies you can have with your team.

If you trust your team and they trust you, it can be very powerful.


Your time gets freed up to focus on growing, building, and leading while the work still gets done efficiently and effectively. And when it comes time for you to rise as a leader, your team will be ready to grow with you.


It is natural for people to resist change. However, this resistance usually comes from lack of trust or feelings of uncertainty. When that foundation of trust is already built in, enacting change in your business or organization is met with much less resistance and unwillingness to evolve.

If you don’t know how to build trust with your team, it starts with getting to know them. Check out a previous blog, “5 Ways Leaders Can Get to Know Their Team” if you need a good place to start. Talk to your people one on one to understand who they are, the ways they want to rise, and what they bring to the fight. This will help you to navigate changes with a more inclusive mindset that gives your team the opportunity to trust in you as a leader.

2. Listen to Your People

I think many of us know what it’s like to not feel heard at work (or even at home). It is frustrating and makes you feel devalued as a person. Don’t be that boss! Listen to your people! According to the Frontiers in Psychology study, “listening is a powerful way to improve employees’ work experience and job performance. By taking an active role in your team’s processes and listening to their feedback on business decisions, you can foster a collaborative environment that boosts productivity and helps employees feel valued.” - Business News Daily

This is huge! Something so simple can have such a profound impact on your team!

When you are rising as a leader, it can be easy to grow so quickly that you forget about how it is affecting your team. It is important to stop, take a breathe, and make sure the individuals you are leading are in a good place.

Here are some tips for better listening:

  1. Ask thoughtful and intentional questions

  2. Understand your people and their nuances

  3. Follow up with them about what you discussed

It has been found, according to this Penn State study, that active listening by managers can reduce employees' feelings of job insecurity. When you’re going through a period of growth, change, or transformation, it is your job as a leader to make sure your teams feel safe, secure, and supported.


3. Be Patient, Open, and Understanding

Patience, transparency, and empathy are not always characteristics to describe most leaders.


I challenge you to be different than most leaders.


Be the leader you would want to follow. And when you imagine yourself in your teams’ shoes, what are some qualities you’d like to receive?


I’ve surveyed hundreds of people and have asked, “What qualities do you most admire in a leader?” and the results come back consistent every time: empathy, understanding, and trustworthy.

As leaders, sometimes we think we need to be powerful, inspiring, charismatic, and cutting-edge. However, when it comes to leading your people, those are qualities that are less important to them. They want a leader that gets them, can relate to them, and knows that you have their back.


When you dare to rise as a leader, you may personally be embodying powerful and confident characteristics to get there, but it’s important you take a moment to soften, turn around, and communicate with your people in a way that they will understand.


4. Acknowledge Where You’re At

A big “dare to rise” moment for me was when I decided I wanted to start my own engineering company.


The thing was, though, that although I knew where I wanted to go, I had to start with where I was at. I couldn’t get to my end goal overnight, I had to have patience.

Once I took inventory of where I was starting, I was able to create the baby steps to get me to my dream of being a business owner. It took about seven months from that point to turn in my resignation letter to my employer and begin my own journey to entrepreneurship.

It can be really frustrating to see your vision, mission, and goals and then have to be patient, work through each small step, and not have all the pieces fit perfectly in place the moment you decide to go after your biggest aspirations.



And that somewhere is typically right where you are now.


Stay committed to your vision, mission, dreams, and goals, and then be realistic about what it will take to get there. We are often told we must “take a huge leap of faith” to get to our dreams. But, I’ve found that it’s typically a course of small calculated steps that gets us there. Don’t get down on yourself for having to start at the starting line, that’s where the path to success begins.

5. Know Where You’re Going


Once you’ve accepted where you’re starting, then you can begin taking those steps to build the bridge to get to where you’re going.

This is the part of leadership that can really inspire your team.

When you’re daring to rise as a leader, you have a destination in mind and you need to get your whole crew there. Get very clear about where that destination is, what it will look and feel like when you arrive, and what it will take to get there. Then, share this with your people.

When your whole team, business, or organization feels like they are part of a larger purpose, it is much easier for them to get on board for the ride. Let them in on the big picture ideas and thinking, allow them to get inspired by your dream, and make sure they are clear about where you’re taking them.

When you do this, your team is more likely to engage, respond, and contribute to your success along the way.

Founder of Dare to Rise


Recently I became the Founder of Dare to Rise. This is my new subsidiary company dedicated to public speaking. I was reminded of this powerful phrase as I re-read a blog on my website. It jumped out at me because it really calls us to action.

A lot of us “dare to be”... Dare to be more, dare to be greater, dare to be better.

But how many of us are daring to rise?


When we dare to rise, we aren’t just dreaming about who we want to become, we are taking action to get there. I am daring to rise into my most authentic self through motivational speaking that changes lives and inspires greatness in others.

It can be scary to rise, but boy does the world need us to right now.

If you are looking for a motivational speaker to inspire your team or organization to rise to new levels, reach out to me and let’s connect.

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