Dealing with any kind of change can bring out an emotional response in people – and when we get emotional, things get personal.
In this podcast, Rob and Paul discuss why some people take organisational change personally, and how thinking of ‘ice’ – Information, Choice and Engagement – will help managers thaw any frosty relationships with their people.
An emotional response to change is natural. It usually starts with shock and uncertainty before moving on to denial and feeling threatened. We only see the bad things and what’s being taken away from us.
These feelings can grow into resistance if left unaddressed and if we don’t feel that we have a choice in the process of change. If people feel they have no idea what’s going on, that uncertainty can very easily turn to an introspective feeling of unfairness, helplessness, despondency and loss of control. This often leads to people being negative, resisting change and sabotaging the process.
As a manager, it’s vital to lead your people successfully through change. Thinking of ‘ICE’ could help: Information, Choice and Engagement. Giving people information in answer to their questions about change will help to ease their uncertainty. But, because people who are feeling emotional won’t immediately process the information they’re given, it needs to be provided consistently and repetitively. Also think about who provides the information, whether that’s you as a manager or someone else.
Move as much choice back to your people, to give them control over details that affect them. For a start, give them a choice about whether they even want to be involved and, if so, to what degree.
Engage people as they go on the journey of change. There are thousands of things, from small details to larger activities, that need to happen for organisational change to take place, so engage people in what’s relevant and meaningful to them.