Change, some people thrive off of change – some people run from it. The people that fear change at work, fear for a variety of reasons. These fears are often associated with fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection and fear of the unknown.
Change does not always have to culminate in fear and anxiety. How well businesses handle the process of change and transition, and how much we believe that we have control and influence over the changes is key to managing the fear of change.
it is perfectly normal to feel fear and be unsettled with change; it is a normal human behavior when we don't feel totally in control and certain about the future. The unhealthy part occurs with inappropriate and unhelpful responses. Fighting change, presenting a negative attitude or ignoring its meaning. Intelligent, mature and driven employees will manage their fear and look for avenues to adjust to change and thrive in the new environment. Your ‘staff’ members, will fight it.
Here are five ways to help your talent team cope with change.
01: Stop & Listen
If you are aware that changes are coming, which they generally do – take the time to stop, watch and listen carefully to your talent team. Whether it a major restructure, a modification to a procedure to a change within management. Change can unsettle even the best of your team and negatively impact the workplace. Sometimes talent members will express their anxiety directly to you, but other times their anxiety becomes apparent in changes to their performance and behaviour. Take time to observe and listen to the pulse of your business and take steps to deal with the anxiety that you may detect.
02: Demonstrate Concerns and Empathise
Great leaders understand and appreciate that they cannot achieve their goals if their talent aren’t performing at their very best. Talent, especially in times of stress and challenge, look to management for solutions and answers. Talent seek guidance when they feel uncertain and isolated from organisational decisions that are out of their control. As a first step, be an example of transparency and honesty, open the lines of communication between management and talent. Talk openly and regularly about what you know, and encourage input. Show you truly care about your people's welfare by understanding their concerns and by doing whatever you can to help them. This not only helps you solve any problems you have direct influence over but also helps them by allowing them to talk freely about what is troubling them.
03: Fix What is Broken
After hearing concerns and gathering input, fix the things that you have control over. Often, uncertainty results from miscommunication or misunderstandings. If, after listening to your employees, you discover an easy solution to dispel their angst, take the initiative to fix whatever you can as quickly as you can. A reassuring word or guidance from management can have a profoundly positive impact on talent in times of uncertainty. If you find the problems caused by change are beyond your scope, avoid promising your employees things you cannot deliver or have no business promising them in the first place.
04: Be Positive
Remain positive. Challenge your talent team to take initiative and seek out solutions, new ideas, or cost savings. Look at standard procedures and policies and rework them, or propose alternatives with the bottom line in mind. When times are unsettled, it may appear to your talent team that their efforts are not appreciated by management. By encouraging them to take the initiative you help them to keep moving forward, focused on what can or might be done, rather than fixating on events over which they have no control. As a group, come up with creative solutions to the new challenges created by change.
05: Train & Prepare
If you have the opportunity and the resources, make time available to your employees to learn new skills. Give them an opportunity to prepare for change with more skills or experience. Preparation and training can help them transition more easily into new roles, or look for work in another areas or businesses, should it become a necessity.
While your crystal ball may not be able to tell you exactly what is coming around the corner, reviewing the steps above so that you can implement them quickly can help everyone cope better with change. A little time spent on this now will save you a lot of time later.
Don’t allow your talent team to associate fear with change. But embrace it.
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