If you’re a manager and have ever tried to change the way things are done in your work environment, you know how challenging it can sometimes be. Change isn’t easy for most people. Having to adopt new procedures or adjust to different ways of doing things is stressful, and some handle the learning curve better than others. Some employees can become quite vocal about it, and seem to actually work against your efforts. What do you do?
First things first: Like it or not, when your employees are resisting change, the finger of responsibility always needs to begin by pointing directly back at you. Yes, it can be very tempting to blame your employees when they push back, but really, if people aren’t following, what does that say about your leadership? The good news, however, is that there are some very powerful things you can do to help people adjust to change in the workplace. Here are three of the basics:
1. Sell it better
Often, people resist change because they don’t understand it. What is the point of the change? What are the benefits to the employee or the company? Why is the new way better than the old way? Communicate, communicate, communicate
2. Baby steps
People can feel daunted by large changes. Don’t just show them the thousand mile journey, show them the individual steps to get there and encourage them along the way.
3. Acknowledge the stress that comes with change
Saying things like, “Oh don’t be silly,” “It’s really very simple,” or “Stop talking about it and just do it!” are extraordinarily counterproductive. Let them know you understand there will be challenges, and reassure them that you will be there to support them.
We forget sometimes that our employees are only human, and
that people can’t change with just the flick of a switch or the installation of a new program. It takes time, planning, support and leadership. Be there for them.