Talking Change: Ten Tips on Making Change Happen in the
By Dr. Molly Barrow
had it at work? Are you tired of the same interactions that are
increasingly stressful and less productive? Have you talked to your
co-workers about making a change but another month passes and
nothing changes at all? Here are ways that you can make successful
changes that put efficiency and comfort back into strained work
ten tips on change talking will help transform your warring
co-worker into a willing and involved team player.
The “I” Statement: If you start out with the word “you” the
immediate reaction is one of defense. Instead, say “I want…” You
must decide what is most important to you, right now. To make sure
your message stands out in its importance, focus on only one
ask for multiple things all at once, you are diluting your message,
which means you are definitely not going to get what you want. Your
co-workers will stop paying attention. The important thing is that
you establish a pattern of getting what you want and especially what
you need. Say, “I want a change in this workplace.” Who can argue
Make an Appointment: Next, agree on an undisturbed time early in
the day when you and your co-workers are able to talk uninterrupted
for at least an hour. This is a time to discuss and listen, maybe
with a third party, like a supervisor or business mentor. The third
person, acting as a mediator, can help keep it more of a discussion
and less of a fight.
It’s Your Fault: As you each discuss the problem, somebody’s
feelings may get in the way. The more frightened the dog, the more
likely it will bite you, so be prepared to get nipped. Exploring the
un-chartered waters of new behaviors, techniques or methods is
threatening. Cut your co-worker some slack and be compassionate,
even while he or she is resisting your new ideas.
It’s All My Fault: Do not give or allow one person to take on
all the blame for a current situation. Doing this will cause the
discussion to be bogged down in self-pity, guilt-induced wailing,
and eventually, revenge. Be willing to share the blame and the
discussion will move forward.
Anger and Tears: Loud “barking” may occur. People who feel
pressured and cornered will avoid revealing dark, hidden, secret
fears and insecurities and will defensively lose their temper to
cover and stall for time. This is when that experienced third party
can divert and calm things down.
focused on talking about the benefits of change and try to ignore
any obnoxious or angry reactions that may include hurling
accusations or digging in stubbornly.
Stroke and Be Patient: As co-workers attempt to handle their
anxiety about change, you can adjust to help to steady them. Give
reassurances that you believe in them, respect their expertise and
need their skills so that they can get control of their runaway
emotions. Only then can you get back to talking about the subject
that you want to discuss. This is where true leaders should surface
and where many people in the past have cost themselves their upward
mobility by overreacting.
people mistrust change and some need to work through their
terrifying anxiety about losing control. Their idea of change may
include a fear that the work environment might get worse, rather
than better. This stubbornness may be misdirected protection of
their ability to do a good job. A good leader will take the time to
be patient while a co-worker adjusts. People who love or need their
job the most may demonstrate greater resistance to new directions.
Let it Rest: After the hour of tight bellies and clenched jaws,
the emotional bombing should subside and reason and logic now have
an opportunity to surface. Watch for that brief moment when your
co-worker sees it from your side. When that happens, call a recess
to the meeting and take a break. Let your co-workers incorporate how
the proposed change may impinge on them personally. This may take a
few days. Agree to a second time to openly talk and address any
questions, doubts and ideas that come to their mind. Then back off
and leave it alone, or you will have to start from scratch to build
trust all over again.
Cheating: Companies can approach huge conflict and change by
allowing restructuring to run its bumpy course without trying to
skip or shorten the steps. Only when the ideas have been fully
stated, listened to, emotionally reacted to and then reflected on
alone and undisturbed, can there be a satisfying resolution.
Understand Relationship Dynamics: The key is to understand that
you and your co-worker may have different capacities to adjust to
change based on the personal and work history experience. When the
differences are large, leaders must work harder to keep a work
environment balanced. If you are more capable of change, then the
responsibility for establishing and maintaining that balance falls
on your shoulders.
List Your Company’s Priorities: Your company is a separate
entity from the individuals who work and sustain it. A wise
businessperson will consider the needs of the company by respecting
and addressing the needs of its employees. Listing out the
priorities can help you see the bigger picture, including any areas
that still need work and those that have vastly improved.
business whose employees cannot adapt will never progress or remain
competitive. Ask yourself if you are starving your people of time,
energy, resources and laughter. Give your co-workers an opportunity
to catch up to wherever you are with modulated talk about change. A
successful commitment, as a team, to goals and restructuring will
allow you, your co-workers and your company to thrive.
Read other articles and learn more
about Dr. Molly Barrow.
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