3 Essential Steps to Help Managers Managing Change
Leaders are catalysts for change in organizations and managers are necessary for managing change through the rank and file workforce. Unfortunately some managers resist change, especially if they have already lived through previous change initiatives that forced them to do more with less. Managers who are unwilling to embrace change have distinct characteristics that put them "at risk" for derailing in their careers.
Frustration at the suggestion of change and skepticism signify a manager who may be resistant to change. Managers who talk of "what was" versus "what will be" are also sending warning signals that they are not comfortable with change. If a manager continues to do things the old way while still expecting to produce new results, or is uncomfortable with ambiguity and is not open to discovering new methods, they are also in the red. It is understandable that managers are cautious when considering a change, but it is essential that they embrace the idea of adaptation to thrive.
There are three remedies to prevent managers from derailing and to ensure that they will continually develop.
1. Understand the manager's natural appetite for change.
People generate ideas and opinions differently from one another, and these differences influence an appetite for risk and challenge. Some find change exciting, and embrace it, while others find it threatening. A balance of both opinions is healthy for an organization. Knowing how a manager will respond to change will enable you to tailor how you communicate change. Effective communication will ensure managers develop professionally as well.
2. Help the manager understand his natural aversion to change.
If a manager has a natural tendency to resist change, then it is important to make him aware of this tendency. This does not mean to accuse him, simply to tactfully bring this issue to his attention. Once he is fully aware of his aversion he will be better equipped to develop his own way of helping himself to adapt to change. When possible, have him think through the process for you so that you can demonstrate how the change will benefit both the organization and the individual.
3. Help the manager understand the importance and benefits of new priorities.
There are many ways to communicate change, but words are not always enough. You need to translate this change into meaningful actions and goals as a manager, and then you need to inspect what you expect. Ask the manager and his people what they believe his priorities are, especially after a change event. This reveals disconnects and opportunities for realignment. Providing concrete facts will strengthen those supporting change, and will discount the manager's fears.
Change is not easy, humans are creatures of habit. Building a great level of self awareness and alignment can be achieved through the help of 360 feedback assessments, such as Profiles Checkpoint 360. Information is power, in that the more people know, the more comfortable they will feel in a new situation.