By Colette Carlson
Change is inevitable. As humans, we reject change naturally because we are creatures of habit. Even the most adventurous individuals often long for rituals and everyday normal routines. After all, consistency and control over our schedule lowers our stress.
Yet, if you strive to be a leader and a person of influence in your place of business, rather than ignore change or push it away, why not lead the way?
Here are 3 ways to make the most of change in your influential path:
In business, you often hear, “Change takes time.” Truth. Leaders need to give themselves and others an adjustment period when agendas shift. However, even greater than time, change takes commitment. Show others through your thoughts, words, and actions there is no turning back. Continue to share the why, gather input to create buy-in, and provide positive encouragement as you move forward.
Speak privately and directly to anyone who continues to live life in the past lane. Always remember to connect first through empathy. “Bill, I’m aware of how challenging this recent change has been, especially on your department. The brunt of the changes falls on your plate, and I can only imagine how overwhelming it must feel. However, for all of us to succeed, I’m going to need your commitment to finding solutions, rather than sharing your frustrations with others on the team.”
You don’t have to be someone’s supervisor to speak up if your daily coffee includes daily complaining from a colleague. Individual contributors can simply say in a playful tone of voice, “Angela, I’m as frustrated as you regarding all the recent changes to our workflow. My way of coping is to focus only on what I have control over, and let the rest go. Let’s help each other by spending as little time talking about this as possible!”
#2 – Expect Growing Pains
Think of change as a baby mobile hanging above a child’s crib. When the baby swats any one of the dangling items, the entire mobile moves. Change has a powerful impact on personal connectivity for the same reason. When you change, everyone around you is impacted.
Following a recent presentation, I was approached by a newly-appointed leader concerned about the emotional distance her prior colleagues showed during a meeting. Turns out a few of them vied for the position, and their congrats felt less than sincere. My advice: Act like a leader. Be fair, firm, humble, and inclusive. Show up with a smile and model the behavior. You can’t expect everything to stay the same when you grow to the next level, so expect some growing pains.
If you’ve attended my programs, you’ve probably heard me say your success is in direct proportion to your ability to connect. To effectively nurture relationships. Having said that, during change, relationships that aren’t in alignment with the direction you’re heading will morph. That’s okay. That’s life. Hold on tight to relationships that genuinely support positive change in your life. Release the rest to make room to cultivate new connections you can learn from and serve.
#3 – Have Patience
Some days the world seems like it moves at the speed of light. Other days, like a snail on valium. Projects flow and then come to a screeching halt as suddenly it seems everyone is on vacation. One moment you’re charging hard one direction, only to have to shift gears at a moment’s notice. This ebb and flow is part of life. When we expect change to happen faster than humanely possible, we set ourselves and our teams up to fail.
Help yourself and others succeed by setting realistic goals from the beginning. Rather than succumb to unrealistic deadlines pushed on your department, build a case for creating a true timeline using facts and figures from prior projects. Educate versus complain.
Furthermore, consciously choose to be patient with people and processes as priorities change. Flipping out, loudly sighing, rolling your eyes, or blaming others doesn’t change the situation. Nor does it motivate others. Show some Emotional Intelligence and take a breath, take a walk, take a moment to talk yourself back towards reality. Gather the troops, refocus, and take action on the next best step.
Let me know how these 3 steps toward change impact your influence, connections and outcomes!
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