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Monica Wofford, CSP teaches Contagious Change Management for Organizations

Are you making drastic changes?

Things change constantly. Growth comes from change. So does creativity, innovation, and occasional hardship. The trick often in corporate leadership or when you change things among a team, is all in your delivery. There are always things you could have said differently or shared in a different way, but there are definitely things you don’t want to do when rolling out a change of any magnitude. In fact, these would also apply to even small changes as everyone is wired to resist change. It’s kind of how we’re wired.

So, if you’re part of the rest of the human race, and these DON’Ts for the introduction of a change are different than what you’ve been doing, then well, as a leader, you may want to change and yep, even leaders are wired to resist it, but you can do this. Or rather don’t do these items:

1. Don’t Say “Check Your Emotions at the Door”

There is only about 25% of the population (usually your dominant Commanders) who are able to compartmentalize emotions and tuck them away to be dealt with later. The remainder of team members that you have the privilege of leading will struggle with this direction. What you’ll create is not a dissipation of emotions, but a team of ticking time bombs… with an impending emotional outburst.

2. Don’t Forget that Change is a Process Not a Directive

Once you announce the change is taking place, some team members you lead will accept it in short order. They migtht even immediately see the light, particularly if the change is for the better, and you experience “no big deal”. Some will take a bit longer and feel a need to be heard and express themselves to their own level of satisfaction. (often this is the Entertainer preference) Give each team member a chance to work through each phase of acceptance, or even each stage of death if you’ve taken something big away.

3. Don’t Lose Your Patience

If you are the leader who has designed, created, worked out and rolled out the new change, then you’ve been working on it and through it for a much longer time than those who just received the announcement when you were ready to share. Remember that those who are hearing it for the first time will usually feel like the change was out of their control, will need time to process, and may need to hear you share it more than once, twice, or three times in three different ways in order to fully understand and accept it. There is a point at which you can request we all move on, but in the beginning patience is a plus and will payoff long term.

There’s nothing wrong with changing things and changes are a requirement for growth and improvement.  That’s all good and what you do as a leader, that is also contagious, can make how they handle the change that much better! Shorten the resistance by lengthening your patience. Reduce the push back, by respecting them enough to tell you what they feel and think, with respect back to you, of course.  Strengthen the team by going through the process of change acceptance together. You can do this… and so can they.

Stay Contagious!

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