Your managerial responsibility is to prepare your team for change. If your company has been acquired, merged, or downsized or restructured life in the organization will be different. Your team needs to prepare for that change. Take advantage of this opportunity to make some changes that are needed in your part of the organization. Team members should be given a balanced viewpoint. There is usually some good news and bad news, and both sides of the story should be told. Let the team know what they can expect and give them all of the factual information that you can. You couldn’t fool them anyway. You will protect your credibility as a manager.
Some team members will resist change simply because of human nature. Human nature is predictable enough for us to expect that certain team members will not readily embrace change. The main key to managing resistance effectively is to actually invite it. Get it out into the open. Then you are in a position to analyze the issues that are resisted and work toward overcoming them.
You may be able to reduce the resistance by simply giving team members a good understanding of the rationale for the changes. If they understand what the alternatives were, and the tradeoffs that were involved, the better they can buy into the situation. When employee resistance becomes extreme, something is not being done right. But, some amount of resistance isn’t necessarily bad.
When an organization is undergoing change, more effort and skill are required rather than less. Typically, you will be expected to learn new methods, processes and systems to produce better or new products. One of your challenges is to communicate that the expectations are higher than before.
In a destabilized work environment, team members usually are concerned about their welfare and future. During this period, your team may examine their individual approach to the job, evaluate their careers, and are more open to changing their work habits. This is an opportunity to challenge your team to accept change and begin to work smarter rather than harder. If your team is sufficiently challenged, it could be beneficial for morale because they don’t have time on their hands to spend worrying about the future or romanticizing the past.
The performance standards you set and the objectives you put before your team should be challenging, but not unrealistic. Try to design successful projects for your team. Naturally, you will require performance improvements, but don’t set unrealistic goals that are likely to be an exercise in futility.
Would you prefer the kind of change that hits broadside, upsetting routines and causing confusion, or the kind that you and your team would implement? Most teams would prefer the second one. The fact is both kinds happen all the time. How you introduce change and encourage people to implement it goes a long way toward your team’s success in an ever-changing workplace.
Change can be upsetting and disrupting, yet it doesn’t have to be. The success in the implementing of a change depends on how people react to it or what role they play in it. Change excites some people and frightens others. Change will leave some of your team with optimistic feelings and others may feel frustrated. Change often replaces familiar, comfortable ways of doing things, or it means new opportunities for growth. As long as you view change as the enemy, productivity, quality, service, and morale will suffer. It’s your responsibility to help your team work through their reactions to change. Introduce change in a way that promotes commitment and enables people to implement it and encourage people to explore where changes can be made to improve processes and work flow.
To be open to change, people need a work environment that considers change normal and necessary. People must feel free to be creative and to suggest improvements. That freedom occurs when the team shares information, insights, and ideas about what needs to change and how it can happen. You can implement change when an improvement is within your group’s responsibility. Encourage your staff to suggest ideas for improvement. There is a need for implementing change when the organization wants to elevate quality efforts, increase productivity, or move in a new strategic direction.
All team members should be responsible for implementing a major change in how your group operates. Your job is to make sure all team members have input into carrying out the change. When the entire staff is involved, they feel as if they are part of the change and are more likely to support rather than resist the change. The reason for this reaction is that they are not confused by the change because they had input and are a part of the decision process. As a manager or supervisor, you should react enthusiastically and show your commitment to making the change happen.
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