Fear of the unknown is completely natural and no matter how it may seem, you are not alone in fearing if the new boss is going to like you, how the new restructuring will affect you or if you can live up to your new title. The modern workplace cannot grow without constant change; the good news is that you have the ability to grow with it. Here are 7 ways you can manage your fears and thrive from your workplace change.
1. Acknowledge that workplace change is occurring
The first step to dealing with any stressful situation is to acknowledge that it is real and your acknowledge your emotions towards it. If a particular change is giving you anxiety, e.g. a new boss, proposed hiring freezes or redundancies the best thing to do is to allot yourself some time to actually recognise the fear you are feeling and try and vocalize it.
2. Write down your fears and answers to them
Writing a list of your fears can really help take them out of the dark destructive place of denial and into workable entities. Often getting something out of your head and onto paper can help them stop racing through your head at night. Once you have written them down, write down a plan for what you will do if the worst comes to pass. Having an exit strategy is incredibly important for managing your stress and ensuring you are not left stranded.
3. Don't internalise the change
In moments of stress it is easy to internalize the negativity in a workplace and believe that you are somehow to blame. Realise that change is occurring all the time and has to occur all the time. Being resistant to it, complaining and being bitter will not solve any of your problems, as Beverly Jones says ‘Institutional change is like stormy weather. It’s pouring everywhere, not just on you.’
4. Communicate effectively during this time
Find out all you can about the impending change and make an effort to separate the truth form the gossip. If there are things that you do not understand then endeavor to talk to the appropriate people to find out more information. You want to be armed with information during this time, a source of knowledge that people come to understand better what is going on.
5. Be apart of the change
There is no better way of getting ahead of the change than helping it come to pass. Is there a committee you could volunteer in? If you are instrumental in driving the change you will understand it better and be able to adapt.
6. Be realistic in your expectations
All new projects have growing pains and the first few weeks into the change may be hard to deal with. Don’t give up hope because tensions are running high and systems are not working as effectively as they used to. All good things take time and the ‘knots’ have a way of working themselves out. If the change disadvantaged you financially or deeply affected your work-life balance the first few weeks can be used as a way of you planning your next move. Get out that list you wrote earlier of your exit strategy and start weighing up which is better for you; to stay or to go.
7. Encourage your team to partake in change management training
Everyone in your team is probably reacting to his or her fear of the unknown differently. Part of mastering your fear of change is to understand the validity of that fear. Understanding the psychology behind natural human processes is enormously helpful in being able to control them. However in a team your ability to embrace the change and make it valuable to you is dependent on your colleague’s willingness to do the same. Dealing with Change, a team building training event, will help everyone take the much needed to time to meditate on their feelings and get through the ‘change curve’ – denial, resistance, exploration and commitment, much faster.
Change for the better
You have undoubtedly been through several significant changes in your personal and professional life, some for the better and some for the worse. A good thing to do during this tumultuous time is to put it in perspective. Will you remember this in 10 years time? Put your fear into perspective and try and keep a positive attitude. Being happy and healthy is more important than anything else, don’t let other’s stress drag you down and you will come out the other end more successful for it. Contact us for more information on team building event and training programs specifically designed to aid the transition process and guide teams through change.