Change. This one little word has the power to throw our lives into the unknown! Dealing with change is not a new topic. I’ve heard a lot of opinions on change over the years. Some people are terrified by it. Others find it scary, yet they’ll accept it. Some boast about how they love change. (Really? Love change?)
I’ve had the opportunity to manage a lot of change in my career. While I don’t love it, I’ve learned to respect and appreciate it. Here are five actions that have helped me and my team work through change.
1. Know it’s (not) a secret.
The most important secret I can give you as a leader is that what you think is secret… isn’t. Hoarding information is not power. Communication is HUGE during a time of change. Got water cooler drama talk? That’s due to poor communication.
During times of change, it’s important that you be open with your team and communicate as much as possible. What should you communicate?
• What changes and what does not change.
• How this change will affect teammates’ responsibilities.
• How the team will be affected.
• If the vision changes or how the change supports the current vision.
2. Be flexible.
When going through change, mentally prepare yourself to be okay with some chaos and imperfections. To think that you or your boss will have it all perfectly figured out is naive. Change is an evolution, and dealing with change is also an evolution. Don’t expect efficiency in the beginning, but make it a goal to work your way back to efficiency as your transition through change takes shape.
3. Stay connected to your passion.
While change brings something different, it doesn’t usually change the vision. Keep your eyes focused on the big picture and try to step out of the drama that change can bring.
4. Give your team some time.
As a leader remember that you have had more time to mentally deal with the idea of change. Maybe the change is your idea or maybe you just knew about the change first. The point is you have had a chance to work through it. Dealing with change is a process. Allow your team the time to process the change.
5. Maintain an open forum.
Allow questions to be asked online or in person. Keep the door open, and remember, you can’t over communicate.
Discussions on this topic can help us better deal with change, but it’s important to remember one final aspect: change creates grit. We may not always like it, but we do learn from it, adapt to it, press through it, and gain wisdom from it. And then we use that knowledge and wisdom to deal with future change.