If you are a manager in charge of managing and implementing a change, the fact that people resist it can be just downright frustrating. This is particularly true if you believe in the change and see the true value of it to the employees and the company.
But there will always be people that resist change, however irrational they may seem to you and as such it is worth investing a little time in the psychology of that resistance.
Firstly, some people are just built like that. According to research:
• Around a quarter of people will be enthusiastic about the change and see it as an opportunity.
• About half will just wait and see what happens.
• And the remaining quarter will be made up of cynics that say “yes, but” a lot and a very small, but alarming minority that may try to sabotage your efforts.
Identify them as early as possible. The Enthusiasts are your allies. They will help you drive the change and bring as many other people round as possible. Convince the cynics, particularly if they are a respected member of a group as they will convince other cynics and you need to sway that middle 50%. The angry minority will likely never change so you just have to ignore them or offer them an exit strategy.
So get the enthusiasts on board and get inside the heads if those resisting.
Change engenders strong emotions in people and what may seem patently irrational to you, is perfectly rational to them, so there is no point in preaching. You have to see it from everybody’s point of view: consider whether the change might threaten their status, their skill levels and their comfort zone; consider their previous experience of change and how it was managed; ask yourself what they stand to gain or lose from this implementation. Think about the way the vision has been communicated to them – do they really understand what the change will mean for them in practice? Do they feel they have no control or does it just seem too complex to them?
Very often emotions will overrule intellect so it’s important you get under the skin of those emotions. Help them to see the advantages for themselves, encourage them to discuss the change. The earlier you can get people involved in the decisions regarding tools or training, for example, the more likely they are to accept it. Humans tend to support what they help to create.
The more you understand about the people you are asking to change the more successful your change will be.
Going back…to a new role after a long break
Of course it’s scary. We all love familiarity – it’s very comforting. But you may find that you’ve changed more than you realised in your time away and what your old job offered you may not be what you need anymore.
• Think about the skills you’ve developed in your time off. They may have equipped you better for a slightly different role.
• Your experience may have changed your opinion about work in general or more specifically about the role. Perhaps your passion is stronger in another area, perhaps you value a better work-life balance.
• Your new role may offer you different experiences to your old role and a chance to meet new people.
• This new role could give you the chance to reinvent yourself or change your working or communication style.
Don’t be quick to judge differences. Be prepared, for example, that people that may have been junior to you may now be more senior or more influential. There is no point begrudging them if they’ve worked hard for that role while you’ve been away. It won’t help you to adapt or fit back in. Try to imagine you’re new to the company and maintain some objectivity.
In fact, compared to when you were new to the company you have so many advantages now: you know the company, its culture, its customers, products and services and challenges it has faced. You even know where the loo and the canteen are. It may be hard to walk back in when so much has changed, but don’t try to recreate where you left off. Take what you learnt from before, what you’ve learnt in your time away, apply them both to your new role and let them shape who you are at work. For more information on returning to work after a long break give us a call 07771 332204
Here are the core stages of career management:
Firstly, you need to know what you are good at and what you are not; what you like and what you don’t. So consider previous roles, talk to colleagues, friends and family about your strengths and weakness and check out some online psychometric, personality and preference tests.
Example: You realise you are quite good at co-ordinating others and helping them to work as a team.
Work out what you are interested in and what you need to be better at. Read articles, company websites and blogs, industry magazines; speak to friends and colleagues in other companies, departments or roles or even speak to a career coach. Look at job descriptions to see the sort of skills that are in demand at the moment.
Example: You’d like to be a manager. You need some solid experience leading a project with a small team.
Once you’ve decided where you are headed and what you need to learn about you can plan longer term goals and set yourself objectives. Make sure your goals and objectives are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and bound to a Time frame. A career plan is the best place to keep all this information.
Example: You will speak to your manager about opportunities to lead; you will read a management book and articles on management; you will book on to a course.
All of the research and planning in the world is worth nothing if you don’t actually take any action. So make sure you do what is on your plan.
Example: You have done a good amount of reading. You discuss with your manager a piece of work that could benefit from a small team. You put yourself forward to lead the team.
How well are you doing compared to your plan? Are you staying on track or does your ‘track’ need adjusting? Are your objectives realistic? Are they relevant? Don’t be afraid to make a change.
Example: You’ve proved yourself on your project. You decide to find a mentor to help you become a manager. You decide that attending a course at this stage would not be beneficial and so remove it from your plan.
Career management by its very nature is not a one-off thing: it is a continuous assessment and evaluation of the current situation, of progress, knowledge and direction. It should not be a box ticking exercise; it should be something you are proud to own and develop. It is, after all, your life, your journey.
From drama queens to a united team
The three roles are: Persecutor, Victim and Rescuer.
The triangle is usually perceived to be triggered by the Persecutor. This is the person disrupting the equilibrium, being aggressive and forcing their point of view on others. In turn this ‘creates’ a Victim – someone who feels attacked, powerless and thwarted. The Victim blames the Persecutor for their situation. In comes the Rescuer who intervenes to protect the Victim from the Persecutor and solve the problem for them. However, in this situation the Rescuer simply reinforces the Victim’s helplessness, the Persecutor has even less respect for the Victim and the cycle continues.
The thing is we do need people to change the status quo, but in order to generate a positive response in all concerned each person needs to re-evaluate their intention and their perspective.
We need Challengers rather than Persecutors. Challengers provoke action in others by urging them to create or learn something new or make a difficult decision. They do not intimidate or blame. This helps a potential Victim to recognise their ability to create. As a Creator, they stop focussing on the problem and their own anxiety and instead look for solutions.
Even without a change in the Persecutor, however, a change in the Victim’s perspective can turn them into a Creator. It involves objectively evaluating the situation and working out the steps towards a solution.
The Rescuer needs to see the Creator rather than the Victim too. They should show this by supporting them, encouraging them and asking questions to help clarify ideas and solutions rather than solving the problem or ‘saving’ the Victim. As such the Rescuer becomes a Coach.
If we are conscious of how we may create or respond to a difficult situation in the workplace we can begin to take the drama out of it. We can avoid our tendency to persecute others, feel victimised ourselves or rescue others and instead become Challengers, Creators and Coaches.
If you want to be more resilient you need to be more optimistic
Central to the training program is the ABC (Adversity – Belief – Consequence) model, which states that a person’s belief about events drives their emotions and behaviours. According to the model, pessimists are more likely to see the cause of negative events as uncontrollable, permanent and pervasive and as such become overwhelmed and ultimately depressed; whereas optimists tend to see them as temporary, changeable and specific so they believe they have some control, that they will be able to solve the problem, face the challenge or bounce back from any adversity.
The training program teaches the soldiers to understand their current tendencies and approach situations more positively. In the steps, which are highly applicable in the workplace too, the soldiers learnt to:
1) Be more self-aware and mindful of counterproductive patterns in their emotions, thoughts and behaviours and to regulate those tendencies.
2) Recognise what is controllable whilst still being realistic in order to solve a problem.
3) Avoid describing failure as permanent or inescapable.
4) Be prepared to try new strategies, change their perspective and think more flexibly.
5) Identify their own strengths and the strengths in others and rely on them to overcome challenges and meet goals.
6) Build strong relationships through positive communication and a willingness to ask for and to offer help.
7) Minimise the focus on worst case scenarios, which can dramatically increase anxiety and a sense of being overwhelmed.
8) Cultivate a sense of gratitude. When you look for the good in every situation you enhance your positive emotions. (Research also suggests that individuals who acknowledge and express gratitude habitually actually experience health, sleep and relationship benefits).
In these steps the soldiers learnt to adopt a more optimistic attitude in order to become more resilient. If a more positive and resilient mind can help soldiers going into battle, perhaps it can help workers face the daily grind and any attendant adversity too. If you want a Resilience team workshop give Next Steps a call on 07771 332204.