I read this brilliant article on Change written by Lawrence Polsky
for Human Resources IQ
that I thought I should share with you, our readers. We’ve all heard the saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink.” Leaders have that challenge when they are trying to effect change in their organization.
Followers are actually like sponges and when the leader exhibits the right leadership characteristics, leaders can create change and keep followers comfortable with change. These characteristics include having self confidence, the ability to clearly define the change, the right emotional intelligence to read your staff, hera what they are not saying, the ability to motivate them to want the change and the ability to execute and maintain change.
When change is announced in an organization, no one is really happy. Not even the creator of it. They might feel proud for a few minutes, but they soon realize that the gap between the idea and the implantation is huge. And so is the workload!
We have found that there are five unhappy people when change is announced. As a leader, your job is to convince them to get on board. Here are strategies to handle each.
It is natural to be scared of an organizational change. Change can mean new roles, new skills, new responsibilities, a new environment and/or new relationships. In fact, if you look at all the reactions to change, underlining them is fear. The strategy below, therefore, applies when leading most people during change.
Look for signs of Fear: Not committing to anything, taking sick days, emotional outbursts, attacking you and/or the leaders of change and/or expressing negativity about the change.
What they need from their Leader: An ear and reassurance.
Things to Do: People will have emotions, whether you talk about them or not. Talking about them gives a productive vehicle to reduce them. We recommend AIRing emotions:
1. Acknowledge— As a leader, in groups and one-on-one, it is critical to acknowledge that you understand this change is scary/hard/difficult/overwhelming/etc. Your acknowledgement of the reality lets employees know it is OK to talk about these challenges.2. Inquire— Ask people how they feel about the changes. Doing this in private will allow you to speak more directly and openly. If you have a high level of trust with your people, you can discuss this in small staff meetings. 3. Respond – Tell your employees your point of view. Empathize with them. Reassure them. Share any details you have.
Often, employees have learned from experience that if they avoid the change, it may never really happen. New initiatives come along, leaders come and go. So why bother? Below are some suggestions to handle this reaction.Look for signs of Apathy: They say they don’t have the time, energy, or stamina for the change. They may not follow through or “forget” to complete assignments related to the change. They will ignore your requests, hoping the change will go away…Read the full article here
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