Change in the workplace can take people out of their comfort zone and make them feel uncertain, powerless and, even, angry.
In this podcast, Rob and Ricky discuss why people look for evidence that supports their perception that change is difficult and undesirable. They also offer suggestions about how leaders and managers can help their teams to navigate and embrace change.
Resistance to change is a natural reaction in most of us. We like doing things the way we’ve always done them, and we don’t like having to learn something new or do something in a different way. It makes us feel like we’re not in control.
So when change is foisted upon us, we look for evidence that supports our deep-held belief that things were fine the way they were. We don’t like being made to accept someone else’s point of view and we want everyone to conform to our perception of the world. It’s classic ‘comfort blanket’ behaviour!
Change in the workplace is often viewed by employees as inconvenient and detrimental to their ability to carry out their job effectively. They’ve made that assumption and they go looking for proof to back it up.
Managers can address these concerns by helping their staff to see change as an opportunity. They can ask people to look for evidence by all means – but evidence that supports the positive outcomes of change. Explaining the reasons why things have changed can also be very effective: perhaps it has helped eradicate a problem, streamlined a system or opened up new opportunities. Usually change is about progress. Give people the answers they need. Explain how change might help them to do their job more effectively or simply. Show them the bigger picture.
By turning a problem-orientated mindset into a positive one, we can understand that change may mean different, but it doesn’t have to mean difficult or bad.