One of the key challenges of change management is helping people overcome the fear of change. So what exactly about the change do people fear?
When managing change, it’s important to remember that it’s not the event that people fear, but the meaning they give it. And this meaning is determined by the quality of the questions they silently ask about it. If they have a pessimistic disposition, chances are they’ll be dwelling on a question like “what’s the worst that could happen?” Fear takes over. And if this is not curbed, resentment. Disempowerment. Denial. Rejection. Depression.
Say the event is about an organisational restructure. Typical responses are going to be “I am going to lose my job”, which means “I am not going to be able to pay the bills” which means “I am going to let my family down”, etc. Or “my managers don’t care” or “I am too old for this”… you get the drift. Lots of gnashing of teeth!
“The only thing to fear is fear itself” – Theodore Roosevelt
Conversely, imagine if they were to dwell on “what’s the opportunity in this” or “what’s GREAT about this“? Chances are they’ll come up with answers like “another opportunity for me to learn and grow”, “I am glad my managers are being proactive leaders” or “this is just the push I need to finally do what I’ve always wanted to do”. Which brings about Gratitude. Empowerment.
“It’s not the blowing of the wind, it’s the setting of the sails” – Jim Rohn
In short, one of the most powerful tools you can offer yourself and your staff in dealing with the sort of change that you just can’t change is to empower them with the emotional competencies of “self-awareness”, “emotional self-control” and the skills of habitually asking more empowering questions.
Make this a truly outstanding day!