The saying “nothing is as constant as change” has never been more apt, particularly for those of us in the technology industry. Business as usual is change – with new innovations and improvements forcing companies to remain flexible, scalable and agile at all times.
This can sometimes provide a significant challenge because it clashes with our inherent, human aversion to change. Whether you are considering a system wide change to your company, or the introduction of a minor administrative policy, nothing is harder to manage than introducing changes to your team. However, there are a few things you can do in order to ensure that the sailing is a little bit smoother:
- Accept that change is hard
No matter how brilliant the new system may be, or how easy it may make your employees’ lives in the long run, people will always be resistant to change. Very often, individuals won’t see change as something you are giving them, but rather taking something away. In short, you are forcing people from their comfort zones into a new direction.
- Change aversion can be overcome with good understanding and communication
Do not lose sight of the emotional elements that are involved. Emotional awareness has very real and significant business benefits. Although we are living in an era where people are more emotionally attuned, with higher EQ, it’s important to be cognisant of the people around you and how they may feel about the transition. Keep the lines of communication open. Your employees get nervous when they don’t hear anything.
- Change slowly
Don’t try to change all at once from day one. Take time to understand the status quo, how the processes work, how the individuals work and work together. Mould your leadership style within each organisation you work with and try to find the middle ground.
- Know that people will come around
Don’t be quick to make snap judgements – people do come around, especially if you take the time to understand them. Sit in on conversations, blend in, put systems into place bit by bit. Focus on the benefits change will bring and demonstrate how it will impact each employee positively.
- Don’t question your judgments
Although people may question your knowledge or leadership style – don’t waiver, have the courage of your convictions.. Be empathetic but assertive. Accept that people will doubt you, but do not let that stop you. Try to find a healthy balance between autonomy and directional leadership.
Change is inevitable, but it does not have to be a negative experience. By approaching the management of change with a positive attitude and an open mind, the transition will be much smoother.