Dealing With the Winds Of Change
In today’s business world, the days of being set in your ways – as an employee and a manager – are long over. Change is a near-constant.
Takeovers, downsizing and reorganizing can turn a company upside-down overnight, and those who remain have to embrace change in order to survive. And more than ever, managers have to be the steady hand when those beneath them are shaking with uncertainty.
“Change is difficult, and organizations have to go through a change process in order to evolve,” said Mayur Ramgir, author of Evolve like a Butterfly: A Methamorphic Approach to Leadership. “Every manager and leader should understand that they need to have a change management process included in their strategy.”
Ramgir gives three tips for helping employees cope with change:
Clear communication. Don’t let employees twist in the wind. Gaps in communication from management to employees can add anxiety and disrupt production. As much as possible, give them the “why.”
“Every manager should inform their team of the change process and mentally prepare them for it,” Ramgir said. “Give them the positives of the change. They need to understand that the change isn’t going to affect them adversely. Let them know they’re secure and that the change is good not only for the company but also can be for them as well.” A manager will be appreciated for being up front and upbeat, which in turn can lead to more trust and a smoother transition.
Tools for the transition. After giving them the big picture, Ramgir suggests breaking down the transition particulars further for employees. Providing the details of what will lead to successful change individually and collectively are important. This can include implementing training and one-on-one or group discussion sessions.
“In times of change, the most important thing for managers is how they help their employees through it,” Ramgir said. “Change brings insecurity and anxiety. They want to know what’s next.”
Personalize it – positively. Even more relevant to each employee, create a personalized plan for them, setting expectations, goals and putting new motivation in motion.
“This plan can act as a blueprint,” Ramgir says, “where the manager can watch the progress step by step, and it’s a plan that can help them grow into leaders.” This kind of personalizing the transition can show employees they are valued and that they can continue to evolve with the company. “They’re coming out of their comfort zone, and now they’re in this unknown area where they don’t know how to navigate,” Ramgir said. “It’s important to make them aware they can move ahead with the company and be successful through certain steps. Change cannot be implemented without a certain level of influence. A leader’s influence involves mapping out the change agents and defining how they can lead to successful outcomes.”
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