Change impacts different people in different ways. For the majority it continues to be something we find difficult. Fear of the unknown and fear of failure is what scares us most.
Leadership is all about change. Like it or not, as a leader you need to be willing and able to make change happen.
I’ve worked with some leaders who try to make the process pain free for themselves. They believe they only need comply with the letter of the law and ignore the spirit and intent behind it. I’ve had to rescue situations when for example employees were made redundant by post, surprised by the news of an office relocation and another time the arrival of a new manager! This kind of approach consistently leads to poor morale, poor performance and employee turnover.
I’ve also worked with business leaders who believe their role is to protect employees from change. They’re wrong too.
When we ‘protect’ employees we typically do some or all of the following things;
- Arouse employee suspicion by holding (secretive) meetings behind closed doors.
- Shut employees out by not telling them what’s going on.
- Fail to ask for employees opinions, ideas and feedback.
- Tell employees everything is OK even though their eyes and ears are telling them it’s not.
These behaviours are the opposite of engaging. They create distrust, cynicism and disengagement.
Successful change only happens when employees understand what is going on and how it (potentially) affects them. Change is less painful when leaders talk with their people and enable them to become active participants instead of unwilling passengers.
To create effective and lasting change you need to understand how your people feel and what you can do to support them. Leaders must engage and motivate people to change (and maintain levels of service and customer satisfaction while making change happen).
Assessing employee engagement before and during times of change is a good idea. It will tell you how employees feel, what’s causing them pain and how to keep them engaged during the change process.
Are you thinking about making some changes at work? Perhaps you need some advice on a change you’re already going through? For more ideas and insights on change, engagement and employee surveys take a look at our other blogs or give us a call – we love to talk!