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How to Lead Through Workplace Change Efforts
Change is a constant in the workplace. Mitigating and dealing with change is an important skill that every manager – and employee – needs. As situations arise, it's important to be able to handle them properly. And leading the change process can help.
Leading change is no longer the exclusive responsibility of the C-suite. For change to have the greatest chance of success, it needs to be believed in by a lot of people at many levels throughout an organization. If everyone believes in a change and does their part, it can be more easily handled by the entire company.
Ways to Create Change
Change has to be believed to be achieved. There are certain ways an employee or manager can show their dedication to a change to get others to buy into it. However there's more to it than teaching management skills or leadership skills. The leadership training should include:
Modeling the Change – The change maker should model the change and “walk the talk” when it comes to it. They should model their behavior around the desired end result.
Communicating about the Change – The change leader should make sure they effectively communicate the change to everyone involved. They should be open and transparent about the situation to gain trust.
Involving Others in the Change – Ensuring that everyone is part of the change will help them feel included and more positive about the change.
Helping Others Break from the Past – Many people feel that change is scary. The leader should help others feel more comfortable with the change as it happens, and also help them stop focusing on past ideas.
Creating a Supportive Learning Environment – The leader should create a supportive environment where issues about the change can be brought up. They should give staff every possible opportunity to practice behaviors consistent with the new way of doing things.
Ways to Create More Positivity Around Change
A change leader supports learning by challenging existing norms. Here are some techniques to keep in mind for creating supportive change environment with more positivity:
- Banish blame. React to mistakes or problems by consciously focusing everyone’s efforts on understanding and correcting the situation. Mistakes represent opportunities to learn.
- Admit you don’t know. Don’t guess if you don’t know – instead, show that not knowing happens during times of change and that the proper response is to seek out the information or answers you’re missing.
- Create a practice zone. Help others find the time and space they need to try out new behaviors for a new change without time pressure. This puts the focus on process.
- Support time for training. Coordinate workloads that others can train without falling behind on their regular responsibilities.
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