Embracing Change in the workplace
“Change” it is such a powerful word, with quite powerful emotions attached to it. I hate change, I love change, I enjoy the challenge of change. But what does the word actually mean?
– The act or instance of making or becoming different.
Quite innocuous if you think about it. You can change your outfit or your mind quite easily, but when it comes to change in the working environment, it can cause mayhem. But let’s think about this for a minute, if changes hadn’t happened in technology you wouldn’t be reading this article (or Blog) if you want to call it that, on your phone or laptop. You wouldn’t be able to keep in touch with hundreds of people on Social Media, whether you love it or hate it change moves us forward.
So how can we make embracing change in the workplace easier?
1 – Set realistic expectations – “You can achieve anything if you set your mind to it”. Really? I would love to walk on the moon but that realistically isn’t going to happen. So keep your expectations of both yourself and your employees realistic when going through the process of change. Either, break down the process into more manageable pieces or if possible do it over a more manageable period of time. In all instances, inform your employees what is going to happen and what is expected of them, the fear of the unknown is a big part of not liking change.
2 – Acknowledge change – whether it is an office move, a new boss or a complete overhaul of the company computer system, these are all changes that are likely to happen in a person’s working life. If you acknowledge that you cannot stand still and that change will happen whether you want it to or not, you will start to think about how you handle that change. A good manager will talk to his team, explaining the reason for the change and answering questions. As an individual you should acknowledge that change can happen at any time in your life and it can be a positive thing, most of the time.
You also need to be aware that some of your team maybe dealing with change in their own lives that might be affecting the way they are at work, try to acknowledge the fact that they may not be on their game when moving house, having a new child in the house or dealing with a wedding or a divorce.
3 – Accept change – no matter how desperately we want to prevent certain things happening, we cannot prevent change from taking place, so instead of resisting, allow change to unfold and try to understand what is happening and why. Circumstances may not turn out the way you want them, but that is OK. Try and understand the reason for the change and accept it, then you will be able to move forward.
4 – Learn from the experience – each time you or one of your employees go through the process of change, whether it be at work or home, it should be a learning experience. Ask yourself why you felt so against the change or why it felt so far out of your comfort zone. Once that has been identified, you might be able to use the knowledge to deal with change the next time it happens.
5 – Recognise you are growing stronger – if you are able to learn from dealing with change, recognise that the experience does make you stronger and more flexible. You might not realise it at the time, but looking back people usually wonder what all the fuss was about, when the new computer system is helping them work smarter, or the new office location is easier to get to.
6 – Embrace the experience – it is a big jump from hating change to embracing it, but if you know that it is coming then you can deal with it easier by putting actions into place to help both yourself and your employees make the change. There are always those unexpected situations that crop up, but by looking back and seeing how you dealt with a similar situation and how you felt can help you when a situation arises that you weren’t expecting.
By accepting change, learning from it, and becoming all the better for experiencing it, change is no longer our enemy. It becomes our teacher. If you’re leading a change programme, you will not only want to ensure you meet any legal obligations, you will also want to take steps to help bring others with you so they embrace the change.
If we can help you during a time of change then contact Sally or Sarah on firstname.lastname@example.org