Change happens all around us all the time and we are designed as human beings to be adaptable, but there are several factors that will make it easier to adapt and well… more difficult. How do you as a Contagious Leader™ err on the side of making it easier for those you have the privilege of leading? Here are a few techniques you can put into place immediately.
First, recognize that there is only a small percentage of the population who is comfortable with and capable of doing what we so often recommend, which is “check your emotions at the door”. For many, the concept of compartmentalizing strong emotions and saving them to be dealt with another time or on another day is just foreign. Most people, including many of those I suspect you lead, carry their emotions with them wherever they go and when you request that they ignore them for a while, you create a conflict of internal magnitude that can often make things worse. Instead, recognize that this is difficult or impossible for some and allow for a bit of time where one can freely share and discuss emotions. I used to call it a 30 minute vent session.
Secondly, there are phases of transition that one will experience when adapting to change and almost always the first phase involves resistance. Just know that it exists and recognize it as temporary. If you instead focus on the resistance and try everything you know how to do in an attempt to get someone to come out of resistance faster, you provide more ammunition for them to stay there. Accept that resistance is phase 1, not necessarily a permanent response over which a big deal is warranted.
And finally, in times of change, seek out resources that will help both you and those you lead overcome what is coming. A book called “Managing Transitions” by Mr. William Bridges, has been a long time companion tool of mine in times of change. Also, in many cases, the CORE® Profile we use and the training we provide, is considered a prerequisite to times of change, increasing participants awareness of who they are and how they will react to any perceived stress. Other tools and resources include anything that will improve your clarity of communication on what change is coming. Develop the skills to communicate clearly and thoroughly during times of change so that you don’t leave out critical pieces of information. Information left out is like a fill in the blank test we used to get in grade school and in the absence of knowing the correct answer, people will literally make up an answer and hope it is correct. This is where rumors come from and how they spread. I don’t know an answer, so I make one up, then I tell three colleagues, wait to hear it come back to me from someone I didn’t tell and whala, peanut butter sandwiches… I now have validation that what I made up must be true because I’ve heard it from someone else! Instead, be the leader who leaves no blank empty.
Change is part of what makes us who we are and makes us better, stronger, and more resilient. Contagious Leaders™ face and lead through times of change with that idea in mind.