“An effective change leader does not try to resolve people’s feelings but listens to them. When leaders listen, acknowledge, and support people experiencing their difficult feelings, they will themselves begin to move through them”.
– Drs. Dennis Jaffe & Cynthia Scott

Dear Leaders,

Do you agree that change is both a challenge and an opportunity? That it’s a source of stress and excitement? That change is an ongoing process rather than an event?

The rate of change continues at a rapid pace with the familiar becoming blurred. As an individual how are you adapting?  What about as a leader? Change impacts us differently; some are energized and flourish, others become almost immobilized and have difficulty dealing with simple daily tasks.

With change the status quo no longer exists; clarity may be replaced with ambiguity, and a climate of mistrust and suspicion may surface as jobs and positions are redefined or eliminated. We need to recognize that there are phases to the change process, that anxiety levels and uncertainty increase, that productivity is likely to suffer, and that job satisfaction may diminish.

The phases of change start when what was known and stable gets disrupted.

Expect to experience:

  • Immobilization
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Testing
  • Acceptance

Strong leaders become enablers of change by:

Being aware of the phases of change
Knowing which stage you and your team are in
Communicating frequently with as much information as possible
Sharing “who” will be impacted by “what”
Highlighting the benefits of the change
Promoting change as a need to grow vs. being an obstacle
Watching for and acknowledging decreases in productivity and job satisfaction levels

By understanding, anticipating, and responding to the change phases you will feel calmer, more in control, and help others more readily accept change.  Remember, change is a journey and can provide new and exciting opportunities!