Flexibility when it comes to change is one of the most essential qualities an employee can have. With a rise in fluctuations between jobs and organisations, it’s more important than ever. Few workers remain in the same role for the entirety of their working life, and accepting that means facing the challenge of adapting to new situations head-on. There are all manner of ways to learn how to do this – experience, mentorship, or even a management course. To get you started, we’ve put together seven helpful bits of advice for when it comes to managing change in your workplace.
1. Stay positive!
Optimism is essential. Regardless of what changes may come, whether it be the integration of a new group, a shift in management, or an unfamiliar project, it is important to maintain a good attitude. Things are rarely perfect at the outset, but you have to have faith that they will improve over time. Keep the strengths and talents of you and your team front of mind, so that you can leverage them for the maximum benefit in this new situation. Emotions are catching, and a negative or pessimistic attitude can turn you into a pariah and your team into a group with a failing mindset.
2. Be realistic.
Change is the only constant – everything changes, all the time. Employees have multiple careers, organisations go through different phases, and teams churn through a variety of different projects. Whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to deal with unfamiliarity sooner or later. Reflect on the fact that this unending stream of change will prevent you from getting bored, or stagnating – you are always going to learn something new in a new environment. Look for challenges, not obstacles.
3. Keep connected.
Just because things have shifted, doesn’t mean those relationships have to be severed. Stay in touch with old co-workers, whether they’ve been promoted, or moved on. Those connections may make for very fertile ground in the future – the skills and attributes that your old colleagues may have just the thing you need to draw on in the coming period. They can also provide you with a handy connection in the future, should more change be on your horizon!
When change happens, it can be easy to isolate yourself. Going into retreat is a simple way to stay in control, putting on the blinders and focussing on what is familiar. Fight this impulse! Human beings thrive on connection, and the more of it you can do, the happier and better equipped you will be to handle change. Get good at asking the right questions. Get to know the key players in your new environment and learn from them. Learn from anyone who has been in this situation before, and remember the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
5. Look within.
Self-reflection is key to growth, and growth is essential during times of change. Take care of yourself, and use your downtime to look back on your achievements and accomplishments. Set goals for the new workplace environment you’ve found yourself in, and put together a plan so that you can move steadily towards achieving them. Discussing these plans with colleagues at and above your level will help you to clarify expectations and key results. Knowing your values, strengths, and virtues will go a long way toward ensuring success in workplace change.
6. Never stop learning.
We always have to learn new skills, no matter what comes our way. Make a conscious effort of it. Determine what new capability will provide you and your team with an edge in the coming challenges, and make the time to actively develop it. This can be one of your goals, as established in point six. If you need a place to start, check out Pathways’ management course for an excellent two-day seminar (or six-week online course) that will give you all the skills you need to become an effective new manager.
7. Help others to help yourself.
Teaching is one of the best ways to learn. If you have the time and capacity to aid someone else when they are going through a workplace change, you will be far better placed to handle a change of your own. The ancient philosopher Seneca spoke about giving advice not as though you have all the answers, but as though you are two patients in the same hospital wing, trading remedies for afflictions that you both share. Trading wisdom in this way builds comfort and rapport with those around you, increasing the value of your connection and reinforcing the strategies that best align with your values.
Where To Learn About Managing Workplace Change?
While this article may provide some fundamental pointers, you may be inclined to dig a little deeper. Consider taking a Pathways Australia management course. With insightful presentations, self-assessments, and group activities, you will discover a wealth of skills and practices that will see you managing change in your workplace like an expert. Consult our website and get in touch today!