Do we as leaders and Managers really think about how people are affected when we bring in change?
Do we give enough support through change periods?
As leaders, we are all so busy yet we are still managing employees and we need to give time to support our employees through any change. I’ve seen examples where someone is told they are moving departments and that’s it, the manager doesn’t bother with the person again, or they fail to see the emotions the person is going through. It’s at that very time the person is feeling vulnerable and how the person is treated could make a huge difference for the future and the effect it could have on the business as well. Additionally, while the person is still in their current role, they can do untold damage to the current team that the manager is often unaware of, leading to undercurrents and sub-cultures. If the person is an influential team member it can create havoc.
Also, the person may work in the future again for the current Manager (especially when it’s a large organisation) and the impression and support the Manager gave at the time of the change will remain in the person’s mind, influencing any future relationship plus when it’s done right it develops the person for going forward. We all remember Managers and Leaders who did something we really rated and we often follow their lead.
At times of change such as merging or take-over of businesses, leaders can think they are hearing the views of teams and they are addressing them but are the leaders really listening and acknowledging concerns and issues? Do leaders and managers give the opportunity to enable true feelings to be aired?
There needs to be a safe environment where people can air their thoughts without repercussions. Communication representatives who can be trusted by the teams are usually the best way to pick up the issues and share with the leaders. The leader and managers then need to demonstrate acknowledgement of the concerns and where they can, adapt the change or acknowledge how it feels to the team, particularly to build trust and respect. The communication rep needs to know they can share feedback and that it isn’t taken as personally from them when conveying to leads.
Do leaders consider the change cycle in their dealings with staff? I’ve seen some good leaders who’ve acknowledged employee’s feelings working with the person supporting them through the change. Others who have not empathised and understood the vacuum the employee feels in, and how the person sways between different aspects of denial to elation to acceptance and back again.
Any personal changes take approximately 6 months to acclimatise and employees throughout this period can need more support through 1-2-1s. They will be going through a range of emotions and with the right support can quickly move through the cycle creating a motivated and engaged employee.
So when you are bringing in change think of how it will affect the person emotionally!