It is human nature to resist change and even open minded people can struggle.
The majority of our life is created by habits from the time we get out of bed to the route we take to work. To break habits that we almost do without thinking can be quite challenging.
So when we are looking to change the way the team works we need to be aware that many of the things that people do is a deep rooted habit that they do without too much effort or thought.
Here are three useful tips to help you manage people to cope with change.
1. Where possible give people time to get used to the idea
Too many managers do not appreciate how important this is. All our lives we have coped with change, just look at the speed that technology has changed our lives if you want proof.
People have adapted to using computers and usually at their own pace. Some are very quick learners and are interested in the exciting new opportunities they bring. Others adapt because they have to; using cash machines, mobile telephones and the Internet.
When you try to push the change too quickly, some people panic because they are worried about the implications the change will have. The biggest is how much time they will need to learn the new ways and find a way that works for them.
Obviously explaining the reasons for the changes can be vital as well as the benefits is will bring in the medium and long term.
2. Involve your team in the change process and decisions
As we implement the changes we need to be aware that as the manager we may not know the detail of how it will impact the level of service that we provide to customers. By involving your team in the change process and the local decisions you can still preserve the excellent service your people will be providing. Listen to what they have to say and empower them to do what they see fir within the guidelines you give them.
Build into your change implementations plans regular meetings to ensure that everybody has the chance to feedback potential issues as they arise. Let them have responsibility for their own work area.
3. Support them along the way
We are all aware that new processes often have ‘teething’ problems. Expect and welcome them now so that they can be solved and adjustments made. Support your team by shielding them from criticism that might come from customers and colleagues alike. Where possible or prudent for the business provide advance warning to other departments and customers and ask for their patience. Provide them with opportunities to raise issues in a controlled way and using pre-determined communication lines such as free helplines and e-mail addresses. These can be supplemented with ‘frequently asked questions’ on your website.
Set up protocols for team members that may need help along the journey to the new way of doing things. Engender a sense of ownership so that all team members are ready to support their colleagues if things get sticky. By setting a team goal of making the changes work then success will only be achieved if the final goal is reached.
Managing change can difficult if you go about it the wrong way. Learn from the tips above and make the process easier for everybody. Whatever happens use it as a learning opportunity which will help you the nest time. Good luck!
Senior Management Trainer & Consultant at MTD Training
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