Change happens often in organizations. Employees come and go, leadership adjusts company goals, workload priorities shift, and business growth occurs. The only constant thing about change is that it frequently happens. But employees can be better prepared for it, and leadership can coordinate workplace change efforts so that the change so it happens smoothly.
Dimensions of Leading Change
Leaders need to handle and delegate the workplace change efforts effectively in order for it to be successful and adapted by the entire organization. There are five dimensions of leading change:
- Modeling the Change. To lead change, you must be able to show others what it means to change. You need to adapt the change first, and encourage others to follow. Being the role model is important. You must also be self-aware, and understand how others perceive you as the leader of the change. If you can do this, you can act accordingly to ensure that the change is adapted successfully.
- Communicating about the Change. Communication and transparency are key. If the change is not communicated effectively with the team, they will be less likely to want to adapt to the change. You may need to communicate the change across a large organization, so plan the best way to send the message – whether it’s written in an email, brought up during a meeting, or discussed on a conference call. Make your language simple, down-to-earth, and clear.
- Involving Others in the Change. Because participation builds commitment, change leaders may need to involve others in the process. This requires a mindset that change is something everyone helps create, rather than change being something they have no control over and have to just deal with. The leader should use effective questions to solicit input from those who will be affected by the change. Involving others also means actively listening and responding thoughtfully when people express concerns.
- Helping Others Break From the Past. Change can be scary and employees may be hesitant to want to change. Leaders need to help others understand why the change is a good thing and encourage them to look to the future with an open mind. The goal is to generate innovative ideas for achieving the change that was deemed necessary.
- Creating a Supportive Learning Environment. Leaders should create a supportive environment as the change happens. As the team practices new behaviors, mistakes may occur. There will be a period of trial, error, adjustment, and retrial. It’s important to be understanding during this time. When people are asked to learn new things and change quickly it can be stressful. The change leader can minimize this stress by creating an environment in which the learning process is openly acknowledged and accepted as a necessary part of the change.
Making Change Easier
Handling and leading change can be worked on with HRDQ’s ‘Leading Change at Every Level’ product. It has step-by-step facilitator guidance, a three-hour program outline, several skill practice activities, action planning worksheets, a real-world case study, a reproducible article, and many ideas for customizing the learning experience. Participants will be able to measure their current change leadership abilities, understand effective change leadership behaviors and learn how to support change efforts.
To learn more about how to handle change in the workplace, attend HRDQ’s webinar “Change Training: Leading Organizational Change Efforts” on Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. EST. Participants will learn why change initiatives fail and how to ensure their success, how to implement a framework to actively lead change efforts, how to plan for the success of future change through close evaluation of the current initiative, how to manage resistance to ensure an efficient transition, and how to apply techniques for increasing and gaining commitment to the change.