Change in an organization can be hard for anyone. Emotionally employees often can face a difficult time managing through the transition (or the psychological changes associated with the external shift). As William Bridges says in Transitions, "It isn't the changes that do you in, it is the transitions." So in a organizational environment where we are not supposed to speak about emotions how do you as leaders deal with the transitions?
First understanding what the transition phases are is important as well as taking appropriate actions. According to Bridges the three phases are:
Letting Go phase - you are letting go of the comfort zone of the past and feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and confusion arise. Here leaders can communicate the Case for Change as well as listen to the concerns and feelings of their employees.
Neutral Zone - the past is gone, but the new is not quite established yet. Here there are feelings of confusion, doubt, caution but also a phase of creativity, innovation, and advancing new ways of doing things. Here leaders can ask for input and feedback, continue to communicate why the change is occurring and the benefits, as well as assist employees in prioritizing their tasks.
Beginning a New phase - the establishment of new processes and ways of thinking. Here employees are starting to see opportunities, get energized by the new ways of working, and begin to settle into new habits and behaviors. In this phase leaders can reward new behaviors, celebrate quick wins, and continue to support employees if they should regress.
What phase are you in with your change? How can you support your employees through the transitions that they are going through?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.