Change in the workplace happens, whether you’re the type who hates it or loves it. Maybe you are the type of person who normally gets excited about changes, but I would guess there are still times when you might not like the thought of it. When you experience a negative reaction toward change, do you ever wonder why that is?
Well, the main reason is that you’re human just like the rest of us. You have fears and concerns like everybody else. When you know a change is coming, you might be concerned things won’t pan out like they’re supposed to, you might be nervous about a learning curve, or you might simply dread being in a state of discomfort.
These reactions and emotions are valid, as long as you don’t let them get out of hand. As much as possible, minimize your negative emotions surrounding change, and minimize those of your employees. If you don’t, you will likely experience lowered productivity, decreased morale, and diminishing engagement.
Let’s take a quick dive into some of the negative emotions that arise with change.
When employees aren’t given time to process a change, they haven’t received an explanation, and leadership has been lacking in their guidance… there is bound to be fear.
You know how receptive employees are with fully trusted leaders versus with leaders who don’t have that trust. When new, ineffective, or unpopular leaders try changing things up in a team or organization, there will naturally be mistrust and resistance from employees.
Some people simply like things the way they are and never want anything to change. When this type of employee is faced with change, they may become angry, disengaged, and hostile.
Just because employees are quiet when confronted with a change, don’t assume they agree with the change. Some employees might not outwardly accept or oppose change, but they may quietly become disengaged and demotivated.
Following that high-level overview of negative emotions experienced with change, you should also know there are ways to minimize the effects of these emotions.
Give employees time to digest change before it occurs. Explain the reasoning behind the change, how the transition will go, and what things will look like moving forward. Be a leader people want to follow.
Work to gain trust in your people, as difficult and time-consuming as it can be. If you are a new leader who is implementing changes, focus first on building trust in a few key decision makers. Once they are on board they can help get the rest of the employees on board.
Try to understand why an employee is angry regarding a change so you can attempt to extinguish the negative emotion, resolving things in a way that make both parties feel satisfied. If an employee continues to be unreasonable and isn’t open to discussion, then other actions will need to be taken.
Check in on your people (especially the quiet ones) so you can know how they are truly feeling. If you learn that a change is causing an employee to feel disengaged and demotivated, provide extra support and put in the effort to reengage this employee.
One last tip that will help you face change head on, whether you are initiating a change or on the receiving end, is emotional intelligence. Strive to become emotionally intelligent so you are ready to embrace change and all that comes with it. If you feel you don’t have emotional intelligence, you’re in luck because this is a skill that can be learned!
If you want to prepare yourself and your team for change, chat with a CoreCounts Consultant about the options we have for team training!