Fear, a strong and powerful emotion, comes consciously and unconsciously when change is foot. Its natural and a protective mechanism to our being.
As a business owner, leader, when you hear the word change, what comes to mind? What do you feel in your body, what story do you tell yourself?
Whether change is initiated by yourself or external to you, it brings a level of uncertainty and challenge. Understanding your natural response to change will support you greatly to then develop practices to support you through the change.
Are you a person that ravels in change for the learning opportunities?
Are you a person who steps back and takes it all in before making any commitments or moves?
Are you a person who sees change as something that you would rather avoid?
Naturally you will seek to avoid or adopt change, in varying degrees.
In avoiding change, you create a greater challenge for yourself as it takes more energy and brain-width to avoid and combat change rather than to work through and adopt the change.
Now I get it, change can be intensely scary, and when initiated by forces outside your control, you feel at a loss, and it generates emotions and feelings that are in a way 'anti-change'. By sustaining those emotions and that attitude you continue a spiral of stress, anxiety, fear, anger......all the emotions that are energy zapping and not conducive to positive change.
Change has potential, just like your team, your employees, so how do you give it an opportunity and lead effective change?
I appreciate this is not as simple as switching from fear to acceptance, there are stages to go through - and that is perfectly ok. That is what change is all about, working through the stages to understand, to visualise, to see it, to communicate it, to empower others, to celebrate the small wins, to consolidate and to make it stick. There will be days you achieve 3 steps forward, and days where you take a step or 2 backwards, if every step is enabling you to move with the change and lead it, you are progressing through the change.
Here are 10 tips to help you lead effective change.
- Lead from your zone of control - we all seek a sense of control, its what supports us to know we have certainty. When leading change, seek to lead from your zone of control. Accept that not everything will be in your control and then understand how you can adapt with the change occurring.
- Reframe your emotions - you will experience emotions that are unresourceful to you leading change, it does not mean that you have to bathe in them all day. Consider the alternative, reframe to what could be and how that would support you to facilitate change, adapt with the change and enable you to brings others on the journey.
- Face your fears - what better way to work through the fear head on. Usually fear of uncertainty, the way you are going to understand it more and achieve certainty is to approach the situation with curiosity, seek to understand, learn and be open to the possibility.
- Raise your hand when things get away from you - the more you seek support, whether that is, your boss a colleague or a coach to support you through the change, having someone to help you see the options, uncover a different perspective is a great strategy to have.
- Be the picture of change - when leading a team through change they are looking to you for cues. Step into an attitude that cultivates the change and the environment for change. Be the resourceful cues for your team.
- Manage your stress and anxiety - leading change you need to make clear and confident decisions. Focus on how you are fuelling your mind and body, through nutrition, exercise, fresh air and breathing for greater clarity and confidence. In managing your own emotions, stresses and anxiety about the change you help your team do the same.
- Communicate - if in doubt talk it out. The more those part of the change talk through the change, continue to connect with the vision and the reason the more they can 'see' the change and 'feel' the change to be the change. Communication works through resistance, roadblocks, role clarity, reasoning, and of course next steps to move forward.
- Keep reflecting on the vision, the big picture - continue to reflect on the compelling vision for change, what that means for you, your business, your team and how you are can continue to lead the change.
- Celebrate the small wins - through every change there are achievements, small wins, and they need to be acknowledged, celebrated. Establish a way that you and your team can celebrate these wins, which also generates greater motivation to reach the next one.
- Be open to learn - having a flexible and open mind can see you adapt to the change quicker and learn something more powerful that you can ever expect. Every situation gives you something for the next. Leading change you are learning about the change, the people, the intended outcome and yourself throughout the process. What a rich learning experience.
Change is constant, increasing in speed, with no signs of slowing down. Your attitude and mindset to change will have a significant impact on how the change plays out for you, your team, your business.
How do you next want to approach change?