3 things managers must do to lead change
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Every organization is dealing with change — some more successfully than others. The linchpin in change efforts is middle management.
Middle managers are the interface between the visionaries who decide on the change and the front-line workers who must implement it. If middle management is not engaged, the front-line workers will not be either.
The challenge with engaging middle managers is that they are not the authors of the change, and they are negatively impacted by it in the short term. It is, therefore, difficult for them to support it.
If you are middle management, focus on these three things in times of change:
1. Be an ambassador
You do not have to be the author of the change in order to get it, articulate it and support it. Most leaders fail in their change efforts. Despite the wake of uncertainty they often leave in their path, there are opportunities for certainty.
Leaders are always looking for managers who can help them successfully implement change.
2. Reframe what is happening
It is important in times of change that you see yourself as an empowered individual and not as a victim. Feeling disempowered leads to stress, anxiety and, ultimately, depression. If something happens and you are not informed, don't say, "Nobody told me." Instead, say, "I should have asked."
Ensure that you see yourself as an active agent and not a victim of circumstance. This simple reframing will change the way you speak, the way you act and the decisions that you will make.
3. Coach your team through the change as individuals
Rarely is a team unanimous in its perspective on change. There is usually one individual who is the most fearful that is driving the emotional reaction of all the others. Rather than see the whole group as reacting negatively to the change, try to understand each person's reaction on an individual basis.
Emotions are borne out of goals. When we are on the path to achieving our goals, we feel positive emotions. Conversely, when our goals are frustrated, we experience negative emotions. Try to understand what each person on your team really wants and then work with them so they can see how they can get it. This approach will neutralize the risk of mutiny.
Let's face it, change is not going away. In fact, it's likely to accelerate. Your ability to personally cope with change — as well as lead others through it — is probably the most important competence you can develop today.
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