Change is a tough pill to swallow no matter what your profession is. Whether you work in an environment that is constantly evolving or one that remains fairly stagnant, managing change can cause extra stress and pressure that not everyone handles effectively.
Managing change in your personal life is stressful enough, but when your work environment is also going through changes, the extra stress can cause some to crumble under the pressure of learning new skills or keeping up with any moving parts. But is change management a skill we can teach to our managers, employees and co-workers?
Managing change is an important aspect of being a flexible manager or employee. These two positions play two different roles in teaching change management.
As a manager, the first step in effectively managing change is to introduce it. Sitting your employees down and going over the plan with them, including any additional tasks or projects they’ll have to take on, is a key portion of this introduction. If your employees don’t understand your new expectations, you may be setting your employees up to fail. Managers must manage change as effectively as they manage people — and this is a skill that can easily be taught as new managers are brought on. Companies can put standards and procedures in place to help managers and their employees deal with oncoming change; periodic workshops can help introduce new skills and approaches to make transitions even easier.
As an employee, being open and flexible to change is important. If you’re seen as the employee who was overly resistant or dramatic when confronted with a new workload, project or company restructure, it can really hurt your chances for growth within the company later. Managing change as an employee means being attentive and accepting — if you’re dragging your feet or causing a fuss, you may increase the risk of receiving the boot. Practice being open-minded by taking on new work as it comes along and preparing for company change, even if it doesn't appear imminent. Practice makes perfect, and your managers will appreciate your preparedness when the time comes.
However, in either role, a positive attitude is the driving force behind making change acceptable and efficient rather than turning it into a period of unnecessary downtime or work flow reduction. Managers and employees who work together, regardless of feelings and opinions, will find that the transition becomes smoother for both parties.
Managing change is an important personal and professional skill. For both managers and employees, the tactics and approaches used to introduce and implement change can make or break a company’s infrastructure, making work life difficult and stressful. Managers who make changes effectively will find that employees are often much more eager to accept changes.
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