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July 4, 2016

How Do You Deal With Change at Work?

Keith Jackson

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"Change is the only constant" ∼ Greek philosopher Heraclitus (535 B.C.-475 B.C.)

Periods of change can be some of the most stressful and challenging times of our lives. Even positive changes can carry elements of uncertainty and self-doubt.

Major changes in our personal circumstances, such as moving house or preparing for parenthood, can be both exciting and daunting. And changes in the workplace can trigger feelings of both fear and expectation.

One of the reasons for our trepidation about change is that it is often out of our control. Chances are, change is something that we have to react to, rather than initiate.

But we can control how we choose to react to change. Do we embrace it and look for the positives, or do we rail against it and resist it? As we discuss in our article, Coping With Change, how we choose to react can impact our reputation at work, and the same can be said for how we deal with it outside the workplace: will we be seen as adaptable and positive, or as intransigent and "part of the problem?"

Looking at a workplace scenario, we threw this question out to our friends, followers and connections across our social media channels: How do you deal with change in the workplace?

As always, we were delighted to receive your replies, and we thank you for taking the time and effort to share your views.

The main theme running through your responses was the need for effective communication. You felt that people would be more receptive to change if the reasons for implementing it were clearly explained, if what it would mean in practical terms was spelled out, and if the benefits were described.

Facebook friend Merryn Campbell said, "If you're not the driver of change, it's crucial that you understand the rationale. This will invariably lead you to endorsing the change and championing it to your team. As change cascades down the hierarchy the rationale can be lost, so contextualizing it for your team is very important."

On LinkedIn, Kevin Bilder, a dean in student affairs from Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A., said, "Change is inevitable and something that requires the ability to be agile in your adaptation to it. Change is more easily digested when communication is good and trust is established. Otherwise, change is incredibly challenging and often leads to organizations losing great people and an innovative spirit."

Loan Tran, a management consultant from Denmark, agreed with him and added, "As Kevin said, communication is the key. Explain to your people why change is needed. Once they understand, it's more likely that they'll follow and commit to it."

Our Twitter followers also joined in the debate. Here is a selection of their tips:

  • Royal Marines Reserve (@RMRMerseyside): "The Royal Marines ethos is, 'To be the first to understand; the first to adapt and respond; and the first to overcome'."
  • Christina Kyriacou (@christinamk89): "Focus on the positive aspects of the change and take it as an opportunity to do something different. It might opens doors for you."
  • Zoe Lewis (@coachzoelewis): "Review emotive responses for facts & evidence & apply new thinking 'what are the positives?'"
  • Alison Todd (@AlisonTodd20): "Listen to conversations and whether they are about the past, present or future. Ask questions to move people to a future state."
  • Sharon (@estquest): "It's a matter of agreement by all after reviewing the topic, and an ability to maintain good work relationships."

Once again, our thanks to the people above for their great tips. You can still have your say - share your tips in the comment box, below.





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One comment on “How Do You Deal With Change at Work?”

  1. Nice article but the change isn't that easy because we are creatures of habit and some find it difficult to adjust to changes that are certain to come our way. Life is like an old, comfortable pair of shoes. We may realize that we need new ones and we may even find new ones we really like, but, we know that changing will cause us discomfort for a little while until we break them in.
    Sometimes we need to realize that life isn't always easy. What may be better for us is not what we are used to, but it is certainly worth the trouble of breaking in new habits and lifestyle changes.

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