Temperament Tip #8

Temperament Tip #8

How to Manage Change Effectively in the Workplace (Part 1 of 2)

In today’s challenging economy, with downsizing, restructuring, and streamlining common buzzwords in the office, one of the greatest stressors experienced by the business community is change.

Any change that affects your employees, affects your business — mergers to maintenance, personnel to paper clips. Because the effectiveness with which your business manages and implements change directly correlates with its past, present, and future success, it is important to take a close look at how changes are handled within your organization.

We know that change happens. We know that sometimes (maybe even often) the choice for change is beyond our control. The issue at hand is not how to control change, but what to do before, during, and after the change process. Although preparing your organization to adapt more easily to change may take some work, it will be worth your efforts in the long run. But what do we look for? How do we plan?

First, let’s recognize the parameters. Let’s assume that each of the four temperament styles is represented within your employee ranks. This may not be the case for your particular business, but building a model for change with this assumption in place will allow you to more accurately hit your target — a business more adept at change.

Each of the four temperaments deals with and accepts change in different ways and to different degrees — Golds and Blues are typically resistant to change, while Greens and Oranges typically thrive. As always, there are exceptions. Some employees may appear to embrace change because it is expected when, in actuality, change brings them a great deal of stress. Another scenario may be the employee who isn’t necessarily comfortable with change, but is even less comfortable with current practices. This employee may embrace change in order to help reduce his or her stress in the long run. Recognizing and understanding what makes your employees tick will help you to be a proactive rather than reactive agent of change.

Before any plan for change is put in effect, it will be helpful to recognize the temperaments of the people in your point positions. You might also consider extending the scope of your questioning to include departments on the front lines of the change process. Some insightful questions to utilize in your analysis include:

  • Does this employee often instigate change or is he/she typically resistant to change?
  • Under what circumstances does this employee best handle change?
  • How does this employee communicate changes to fellow employees?
  • What is this employee’s role in implementing change?

Recognition is the first step, but it is only the beginning. Once you understand what your employees value and their fundamental reactions to the change process, you can become a proactive supporter of effective change. Build, within your point people (and departments), an understanding of what it means to communicate and work in the nexus. That is, the necessity of meeting the values of each individual within the ranks.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Think about someone with whom you are living with or supervising that needs to experience some change in his or her life. For example, maybe you have a new budget and they need to change their spending habits and stick to the budget. Identify their color as best as you can. Then try to look at the world through their “colored lenses.” Think about words and phrases that will show you understand their perspective, then use that language to ask for new behaviors that reflect their color’s values.

Next week, I’ll take a closer look at this idea in action, and give you an example of how a manager can effectively reduce the stress associated with change.

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