5 Tips for Dealing with Your Employees’ Fear of Change
When managing change in the workplace, it could be easy to miss out on the personal toll it can take on your employees. Without a leader’s intervention, your team may resort to operating in fear and fear is not an effective motivator. In fact, fear is most likely what is going to hinder any meaningful progress.
However, overcoming fear is a monumental task for an individual to take on. That is why as a leader you have the power, and the necessary tools at your disposal, to help them take on their fears with confidence. By following these 5 tips, you can transform a team of employees from fearing change to embracing it and working together in harmony to make it happen.
Recognise Their Fears
Before we can start implementing change, it is critical to recognise what it is your employees actually fear about it. They may give a number of reasons as to why, but what’s important is that you let them express how they truly feel about the situation.
Do not interject or project your own feelings, as it may greatly differ to that of each of your employees’. Let them relieve themselves of the stress that fear may bring to their work so that you can come up with compromises or solutions that will alleviate those burdens for themselves. This will greatly benefit you and your employees’ working relationship.
Eliminate False Assumptions
False assumptions can only lead to diverging ideas. Reducing theirs will help them align themselves with your vision for change in your organisation. The easiest way to go about in eliminating these assumptions is to give clear-cut answers to questions that they may have. This will ensure them that there are reasons for these changes and that there is a plan that is being set into motion.
However, false assumptions can also come from leaders themselves. You may assume that your grand plan for change is foolproof, but you will soon realise that there are things that could be improved upon, especially when taking into consideration the thoughts of your employees. Eliminating these assumptions will allow you to create a more cohesive plan for change that helps the organisation move forward into a new, singular vision that is in the best interest for everyone involved.
Set Realistic Expectations
Implementing change is not a brisk walk in the park. When walking down the path of change, you need to acknowledge that there are going to be forks in the road with the occasional roadblock, and that your employees already know that. So, setting an unrealistic expectation that everything will run smoothly from the get-go will create an immense amount of pressure for your employees to perform. Once they produce an output that is not up to par, they are going to feel discouraged, therefore propagating that fear of change that we are working together to mitigate.
Setting realistic expectations is about having awareness of the situation at hand. Knowing what your endgame is, what you can and cannot do, and what your employees are capable of right now. This is going remove the unnecessary stress of trying get it perfect right from the start. Remember, change is a work in process and so is the development of yourself and your employees.
Provide Necessary Training
The biggest casualty in the implementation of change is your employees’ comfort in their workplace. A drastic change in the workflow, such as creating and assigning new and unfamiliar tasks to your employees, could upset and alienate them because they feel that they are being “thrown to the wolves”.
Your role as the leader is to not just to dictate what it is that is needed to be done, rather to facilitate the changing needs of your team. If your employees feel the need for further training to accomplish and perfect their tasks, there is no reason not to give it to them. It would only serve to break the mental barrier that is preventing them from becoming the best version of themselves.
Let Them Take Charge
Change can bring about a sense of powerlessness. Because it tears apart what is already established, it could lead to confusion as to what it is that your employees need to do. By allowing your employees to take charge of the situation, you are giving back the power to them.
Now, that does not mean you are giving them carte blanche to do whatever they want. They still need to meet whatever requirements asked from them. But since you have established the changes that you want to see, they can create their own personal game plan that will meet your needs and satisfy how they want to approach the changes. Remember, no matter how you get to the top of the mountain, the view remains the same.
It is nice to look at the bigger picture, where change has been properly implemented and your organisation is thriving because of it. However, once you overlook the finer details, you will fail to understand what made the implementation work, and what made it work is you creating an environment where your employees were able to eliminate their fears and embrace the change.
As world-renowned educator and public speaker Stephen R. Covey put it best:
“To change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perceptions.”
How can you help your employees overcome their fear of change? Are they ready to make the necessary changes for your organisation?
We Are Here to Help
At People Builders, we have a team of expert trainers and coaches who can help you in building trust with your team. Contact us today for a quick chat to see how we can partner with you to train and coach you and your team.
If you are interested in becoming certified to be a trainer and coach in Social and Emotional Intelligence, Applied Neuroscience, or Extended DISC, go to our People Builders Institute website.