Change is in every facet of an organization’s life cycle. The reality is, you either become an agent of change or you are going to end up a victim of change. Managing change and crisis is difficult for organizations and, on the individual level, it takes a toll personally and professionally. As the speed of change increases so does everyone’s discomfort.
It is imperative to develop a mindset that accepts change as a reality and to create a personal, professional and organizational vision that sees change not as a hindrance but as an accelerator of growth and possibilities.
To prepare and create this mindset, it is essential to understand the emotional issues related to change. People must learn to use their emotions to transform their negative perceptions into positive energy to open them up to the possibilities.
Managing is a method that is designed to effectively implement change; it is leadership that makes an enormous difference.
How managers lead people through change directly relates to whether they embrace it or reject it. The good news is that learning to accept change, learning to adapt, learning to cope and, ultimately embracing change are skills that can be acquired.
The skills lie primarily in the area of emotional intelligence competencies. Awareness, vision, optimism, navigating emotions, consequential thinking and empathy are all EQ competencies that can be learned and taught.
Awareness. It is essential to be aware of feelings that emerge around change. It important to recognize that there is discomfort in change related to loss, letting go and the fear of success. It is equally important to know that people can choose to transform these unpleasant emotions into emotions that experience change from a positive perspective.
Optimism. Embracing change requires a perception shift; it is learning to be curious and open to change rather than resisting change. It is accepting change for what it is, a reality.
To the pessimists, change brings fear because it threatens their current reality. To the optimists, it is encouraging because of the potential it holds. It can even be inspiring because it offers the power to make things better.
Communication. As a leader of change or to be an effective change agent, how and when managers communicate to everyone who is affected by the change is crucial. Change leaders must move people beyond fear and resistance to hope and excitement, to help them learn and master new skills needed to foster change and growth.
In communicating change, it is imperative to go beyond concepts and the technical side of change and use emotional intelligence to connect at a heart level. A great place to start is by expressing your belief and commitment to the change and by having an open conversation to talk through employees’ fears and reasons for resistance.
The most important thing about change is the realization and the acceptance that life is change. The ability to look at change as a wonderful opportunity for growth affects relationships, the workplace and even good health.