How do you react to change?
Have you ever found yourself being gripped by fear, being paralysed by anxiety, feeling seriously let down or stopped in your tracks by guilt?
Change in the workplace always triggers difficult emotions for everyone concerned.
Many businesses are facing periods of review right now, driven by economic volatility and uncertainty about the future. People are being forced to make unpopular decisions to safeguard the future of their business.
Feeling fearful, uncertain, anxious, angry resentful and guilty is all part of the stresses of having to implement changes in the workplace. If you’re a business owner, manager or an employee, you’ll experience all of these from time to time. After all it’s personal – it affects all of us.
When I first started out in HR, we were all made aware of the change curve which explains the stages people go through when they are responding to change. There’s a number of versions but the key stages include Denial, Shock, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance and Moving on. There are some very strong emotions which change over a period of time and different people move through the range of emotions at different rates. So how do you manage yourself and support others through turbulent times?
Leaders or business owners are the ones who shape the changes and they must act as role models and use their influence to take people along. It’s a massive responsibility for people to take on. These people will be deciding on workforce changes whilst feeling a range of personal emotions and managing the emotions of others – not an easy task. Leadership coaching can be a massive help through times like these. The support of having someone to talk to, to check in with progress and to help solve issues is invaluable.
Communication & Reassurance
The affected people and others in the business will want to talk, discuss, question and share feelings and the leader must provide an open culture where people can talk without fear of judgement or punishment. Managers and team leaders must put aside their own feelings and role-model this behaviour to encourage honesty at work. It takes time and patience to support people who are moving through the change curve at different rates.
Policy and Procedure
When faced with practical changes (eg., redundancy/re-deployment/job redesign) policy and procedure become more and more important. Doing things the right way through respected and lived in policy and procedures can help manage the process whilst offering reassurance that changes are dealt with in a fair and unbiased manner.
Implemented changes will affect everyone in one way or another so supporting people to move forward and embrace the new organisation or culture can’t be underestimated. A confidential coaching space to talk, express concerns and to be coached through the difficult emotions will help people move forward with confidence. If you’d like to discuss any of the topics in this post, please do get in touch.