Over recent weeks, I have spent some time talking about gestalt psychology and its role in change management. One of the key lessons from the discussion was that humans have an instinctive and psychological aversion to anything that is perceived as “not right” or out of kilter. When changing times impact daily routine, some teams can resist. Here, we will look at some strategies to make the change process smoother.
1) Get people involved.
There is a big difference between changing times per se and being changed. If people think something is being imposed on them and they are powerless to do anything about it, then resistance and suspicion will almost certainly result.
2) Talk to people.
Ask employees how they feel. It is critical that you as a manager understand what employees think about the change, and it is equally important to make it clear that you are interested. If you don’t understand people’s feelings on the subject, then what hope do you have of addressing any issues? Adopt an open-door policy and invite anyone with concerns to share them with you. After all, if someone is passionately against the change, it is better that they discuss their concerns with you rather than telling the rest of the workforce why the change is never going to work.
3) Don’t try to do it all yourself.
Often, managers feel they need to micro manage and police every single process during times of change. However, everything will go far more smoothly if you focus your efforts on effective delegation instead. Then you will be able to take a helicopter view. Not only will this save you from collapsing under the workload, it will also mean your employees feel more involved in the process.
4) Increase your expectations
Just because there is some organisational change going on, there are still productivity targets to hit and customers to keep satisfied. Now is the time for the team to pull together and work harder than ever. Too often, the opposite happens, and everyone is so focused on and distracted by the change process, productivity goes through the floor. Make sure your team understands what is expected, and remains focused and goal-orientated.
5) Communicate more
In times of change, conventional communication channels usually need to be enlarged. Everyone will be hungry for information, so make sure you are visible and your door is always open. Regular updates are important – even if there is no new information to share, let everyone know that is the case, and nobody will think they are being kept in the dark.
6) Be committed
Most change experiences a few teething problems. You need to remain committed to seeing it through, and not just allowing everyone to backslide at the first hurdle. Having said that, you still need to remain flexible to possible fine tuning, as only when the change is fully implemented will you understand just how effective it is.
7) Keep smiling
Your attitude will rub off on others, so if you are looking stressed and negative, how can you expect everyone else to be any different? Changing times can be difficult, but try to stay positive and enthusiastic, and don’t lose your sense of humour.