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Are you good at managing your team through change?

As a manager, busy in your role do you stop to consider how the changes that are occurring in your organisation, to your business unit, or team are impacting on each member?

My guess is that while you do consider it, you may not fully understand what is happening emotionally for your team members.  And no one can expect you to, as they are not your emotions. Yes, there’s that word.  The one that isn’t supposed to be spoken about in organisations – ‘Emotions’.

It seems that there is fear in the workplace suggesting that ‘we mustn’t talk about feelings because that sort of thing doesn’t belong in the workplace.’  In doing this though we totally negate the fact that each and everyone one of us in a work environment is an individual emotive being.

Allow a place for emotion in the workplace.

Daniel Shapiro explains that “Emotions do not just ‘appear‘.  Many of the ones that arise in your everyday communications and conflicts stem from five predictable core concerns:

appreciation (recognition of value),
affiliation (emotional connection to others),
autonomy (freedom to feel, think, or decide),
status (standing compared to others),
and role (job label and related activities).”

During times of change and the associated transition that people go through, they may feel loss related to each of these, especially if the organisation is changing in a significant way, like restructuring, for example.

The change need not only be related to reduction either but can be just as relevant in the context of growth phases.

Any large scale change that impacts on an individual will see them experience emotions as part of their transition journey.

Accept and acknowledge your emotional state during this time.

Accept and recognize that each person will experience some emotion.  It will not only help you, but it will also help your staff travel their transition journey a lot more smoothly.

Acknowledging your emotions doesn’t mean that you need to sit and cry in front of your team members if you are sad about the change that is taking place.  It does mean opening up and sharing that you are feeling sad about the change, though.  Your team members are more likely to share their feelings with you if you talk about your emotional response.

It is not a sign of weakness to share how you feel.  What it does do is show your human side and connects with your staff.

Be open to listening to your employees when they share how they are feeling

One thing that you can do that will assist your employees greatly is to hear them expressing how they are feeling.  There is no need to pass any comment or judgement, especially if you have also shared how you are feeling.

If you understand the transition process, you may like to explain to the staff that their emotional reactions are a natural part of their development journey. What they are feeling is normal, and it will pass if they can acknowledge their perceived loss.