We all agree that we must adapt to change in order to stay viable, it’s basic biology – evolve and adapt or become extinct! The trick is understanding how well we cope with the changes we face in life, in work and in our environment. How else can we manage these changes and our reactions to it? As leaders we need to understand how changes fuel our success. We must communicate clearly and often in order to manage employee reactions to impending changes. This is a key component to the success of any new initiative.

Understanding Reactions To Change

A key ingredient in managing the inevitable and rapid changes we face is understanding ours and others’ reactions to change.  Some people “roll with the punches” and even thrive on constant change, they love a good roller coaster ride. Others prefer things to change at a slow and steady pace so they feel stable and in control. Then there are those who really don’t like any kind of change. They tend to get very stressed and anxious at the thought of having to face the unknown. In order to manage change in an organization it is important for those leading the change initiatives to be aware of their own reactions to the changing landscape in order to be better equipped to understand how others react to change. This is not necessarily complicated it just requires some forethought and introspection as one prepares to lead the organization through any initiative that requires adapting to a different way of doing things.

Communication And Clarity Are Key Ingredients

In a blog post “Approaches to managing reactions to change” posted in HR Landscape, March 2016  they highlight several approaches that will ease the transition to change for employees, beginning with recognizing the different reactions one can expect people to have when faced with changes.  Communication and clarity seem to be the key ingredients for success.  People need to understand why there has to be a change and what the consequences would be if the change doesn’t occur.  It is important to outline what will stay the same and what will change.  This seems like common sense but often, leaders err on the side of sharing less information rather than disclosing to their employees what the plans and goals are in regards to the changes being implemented.

Trust Is Fundamental In Alleviating Resistance

pexels-photo-31130 Successful teams and organizations are built on trust which becomes an imperative if you want folks to embrace change.  Since you can’t have trust without good lines of communication then it follows that sharing information will fortify trust and alleviate some of the resistance.  People are most afraid of the unknown which leaves us with a clear path to follow – if we want less resistance to change then eliminate as many of the unknowns as possible. Chances are the journey will be less bumpy if you share a clear expectation of the direction you are going towards, why you are going there and how you plan to get there.