Carried on from previous post…..
1. Communicate well
2. Tackle change fatigue
3. Listen to concerns
4. Dealing with the impact on individual managers
6. Maintaining engagement during change
As individuals experiencing change people will often make it all about them. In doing so there are a number of perspectives that are ignored. One of which is the Management perspective. Trying to support a large scale organisational change can feel akin to trying to roll a large and very heavy ball uphill. Hardwork, minimal progress and very easy to backslide.
We often overlook the fact that Managers are employees too, in fact in a 2.5 day Management Development program I run there is a light-hearted but recurring theme I introduce that “Managers are People too?”. Sure their responsibilities are different, they may have better quality or more timely information and in some cases their ability to exert influence is great, but for the most part they are buffeted by the typical challenges of change as much as their employees are. And in some cases, even more so as they are tasked with the responsibility of actually making the change/s stick. When our needs are being threatened we take action to protect them. Unfortunately, not all of these responses are the most helpful of behaviours and, given that managers are people too, sometimes their responses are maladaptive. Recognising this potential and taking action to support them (Managers) in making positive adaptations is essential if you want them to support your initiative and your people. So to summarise, if a Manager feels at risk it will undermine their ability and willingness to engage with staff.
There are a range of steps that organisations can take to assist their managers during such periods.
First, be as clear as possible about the impact on managers and, if managerial posts are to be lost, seek to agree appropriate policies in line with national HR and local guidance where applicable.
Second, help managers build up their ability to cope with change through increasing their own skills. This can be skills in coping with change through techniques such as mentoring/coaching. Setting up informal networks for managers faced with change and using value for money collaborative coaching techniques can be relatively low cost responses.
Where posts may be moved through increasing their “transferable competencies” – i.e. skills which could assist them in gaining a job in another part of the organisation or even in another organisation.
Through these type of measures organisations can assist their managers to feel able to cope better themselves and thereby help staff deal with organisational change. Personal resilience in time of change can be a challenge but is a key task especially for senior leaders. And remember, “As a Leader your actions speak so loudly people can’t hear a word you say.” You and your Managers lead by example, so what example are they/you setting?
More on Resilience in the next post.