Change is intimidating, but nothing good ever comes easy. Experienced leaders translate change into a possibility they should embrace! Organizations need to reverse the view that change is an obstacle to overcome, rather than an opportunity to improve and do better. Take reorganizations or mergers, for example. Organizational changes can create new positions, divisions or departments, or a chance to create a new job title.
The mindset of change needs to alter. Becoming more aware of the communication, relationships, and emotions will bring trust and clarity to the organization. Not only will employees feel more connected, appreciated and fulfilled, but teams will excel in engagement, productivity, and innovation. Leaders are too focused on the negative impact of change; they miss out on the rewards of embracing change and utilizing their emotional intelligence to get there.
Embracing Change with Emotional Intelligence
By embracing change with emotional intelligence, your employees will be more positive, present and productive. Organizations that manage change with a positive mindset are finding new ways to work and interact with each other to adapt to the “new normal” that is 2020. When people embrace change, they stop pointing fingers, the stress uplifts, and employees have more time to spend on work than worrying about what will happen.
The big question everyone is wondering: How are leaders lifting the stress of uncertainty? It comes from removing blame and replacing it with acceptance and patience as everyone adjusts to the change at a different pace. Accepting change comes from a place of understanding and empathy for people’s various positions. Once leaders open up communication within the organization and take the time for genuine, honest conversations from the top-down, employees will feel more comfortable and committed to getting through the changing conditions.
As Brene Brown says, “realize that everyone is doing their best.” If leaders can learn to tune into their emotions and manage change with the mindset, everyone is genuinely trying to do the best they can, the stress of change lifts. If a leader is continually blaming departments for their profit losses or nagging on employee’s productivity, the negativity will spread top-down, resulting in decreased productivity. People cannot separate their workplace feelings from what is happening in the world. Leaders need to accept, appreciate and spread a positive message of change.
Right now, organizations are facing exponential drops in productivity. Often, organizations get caught up in the numbers and forget there is a valid reason behind the decrease in motivation. Change is not easy for employees, primarily when the change affects their work and personal lives. Leaders of organizations need to realize the importance of embracing change in their workspaces. Organizations that are already focusing on the importance of culture and communication come out of change more resilient.
How organizations are engaging with their teams is a large part of their overall productivity. In How to Engage Your Virtual Workforce Using Emotional Intelligence, it outlines the different tactics leaders must take to lead effectively, and it is the same with change management. The best way to engage with your team to alleviate their fear of change is to communicate with them. With the change in the workplace, leaders need to find new ways to engage and collaborate with their employees. When employees feel heard and supported in their work, they will spend less time stressing about their job’s uncertainty and get more work done.
Below are three ways emotional intelligence can increase productivity in the workplace during change.
1. Help Others
Help others get through this change. You are not the only one feeling the pressure of change in the workplace. Offer your support through open communication. In You Can Count on Change, it focuses on communication to bring people comfort. Everyone handles change differently, so a one-size-fits-all solution will not fly. Leaders need to stimulate conversation between their employees and offer resources to help when your own hands are full. It takes a village to help create a culture of embracing change!
2. Maintain Relationships
During a significant change, it is crucial to open up your empathy circle. Collaboration and “water-cooler” talk are that of the past. Instead, leaders need to find new ways to engage their employees. Engaging employees stems from a supportive conversation, communication outlets like Slack, and allowing casual conversation. Building relationships helps build trust in the organization, making it easier to get down to work when you have people relying on you.
3. Active Coping
Avoid escape coping and acknowledge the changes happening. Problems that are put under the rug develop a deep level of distrust and uncertainty within the organization. Active coping allows organizations to take on the problem head-on and keep employees in the action plan. When employees know their role in the change, they are more inclined to offer help, work harder, and take on more responsibility.
Embrace Change from the Top-Down
Leaders need to recognize that their employees may be in the same storm, but they are all in different boats. In Leading Change in the Workplace, it emphasizes the importance of communicating the vision for buy-in. For leaders to breed a culture that embraces change from the top-down, they need to ensure people understand the changes to come. Internalizing the vision helps employees embrace change more effectively and also connects them to the process.
Embracing change is not an overnight task. Organizations should not be saving their emotional intelligence tactics when change or uncertainty strikes, but rather embedding it into their culture. Emotional intelligence can better help organizations manage stress, communicate compassionately, and build more productive workplaces even in the storm of change. Change is always around the corner; if organizations do not embrace it, that may have a rude awakening.