Relationships at Work - Your Honest Guide to Building Workplace Connections and Avoiding Leadership Blind Spots.

Leadership Alert - Avoiding the Pitfalls of Change Management

April 04, 2024 Russel Lolacher - leadership and workplace relationship advocate Episode 149
Leadership Alert - Avoiding the Pitfalls of Change Management
Relationships at Work - Your Honest Guide to Building Workplace Connections and Avoiding Leadership Blind Spots.
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Relationships at Work - Your Honest Guide to Building Workplace Connections and Avoiding Leadership Blind Spots.
Leadership Alert - Avoiding the Pitfalls of Change Management
Apr 04, 2024 Episode 149
Russel Lolacher - leadership and workplace relationship advocate

In this episode of Relationships at Work, communications and leadership nerd (and host) Russel Lolacher showcases common resistances to change at work and how leaders can avoid these pitfalls. 

Change is a constant in the workplace, but so is resistance to it. The success and failure of change will be found in how leadership introduces, leads, implements and follows up on that change, and in how they respect what's come before. Russel shares five common pitfalls that leaders encounter when implementing change and ways in which we can think differently in how we approach them.

If you enjoy the podcast, please subscribe and share with others.

For more, go to relationshipsatwork.ca 

And connect with me for more great content!

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Relationships at Work, communications and leadership nerd (and host) Russel Lolacher showcases common resistances to change at work and how leaders can avoid these pitfalls. 

Change is a constant in the workplace, but so is resistance to it. The success and failure of change will be found in how leadership introduces, leads, implements and follows up on that change, and in how they respect what's come before. Russel shares five common pitfalls that leaders encounter when implementing change and ways in which we can think differently in how we approach them.

If you enjoy the podcast, please subscribe and share with others.

For more, go to relationshipsatwork.ca 

And connect with me for more great content!

Change is a constant in the workplace. If you’re not going through it now, don't worry, you will be soon. Reorgs, digital transformation, new processes, new leadership, etc. are all part of the gig.

And those changes can be great, good, bad or ugly experiences based on how they are introduced, led, implemented and followed up on.  It's not easy, it's not quick but it is important if we want those changes adopted and embraced even when we know there will be some levels of resistance.

Here are some of the areas, we as leaders need avoid and address to move the needle in a positive direction for change:

1.    Pitfall: “Why are we changing? It wasn’t perfect before but it wasn’t bad. And I was comfortable with it.”

Clear Communication: One of the most significant mistakes is failing to communicate the reasons for change clearly. Leaders must explain why change is necessary, what the change entails, and how it will impact employees. When communication is vague or inconsistent, it can lead to confusion, resistance, and anxiety among employees.

2.     Pitfall: “Nobody asked me about what we need to fix and change. Executive/leaders/consultants don’t know our work. How would they know what’s best?”

Embracing Employee Input: Leaders sometimes make the mistake of not involving employees in the change process. That just comes off as "we know better." Long standing or front line employees often have valuable insights and suggestions. Ignoring their input can result in missed opportunities for improvement and cause resentment.

3.    Pitfall: “Why aren’t staff getting this? It’s straight forward. They should be adopting the new process/working as a new unit by now.”

Patience with the Process: Change management takes time, and leaders may push for change to happen too quickly. Rapid changes can overwhelm employees, making them feel anxious and resistant. It's crucial to set realistic timelines and allow employees to adapt gradually. Most change takes years, not weeks and months.

4.    Pitfall: “Blank is so negative. They just keep crapping on everything. It’s a career limiting more resisting this change. If they don’t get onboard, we’ll have to have so difficult conversations. 

Accepting Resistance: Change often triggers resistance, and leaders may underestimate the extent of this resistance. Failing to address resistance can stall the change process or lead to sabotage efforts by employees. Leaders should acknowledge and address resistance proactively.

5.    Pitfall: “One minute our boss is all for this change, the next they’re saying they have to because they’re boss is telling them to. How am I supposed to buy-in to this?”

Consistent Leadership Support: When leaders themselves do not fully support the change, it sends mixed messages to employees. Inconsistencies in leadership support can erode trust and make it difficult for employees to embrace the change. Leaders must demonstrate commitment and consistency throughout the change process.

If you’ve ever been through a change, I’m sure a few of these scenarios sounded super familiar. 

As leaders, we have to take the challenge of change management seriously, through any level of change at work. Doing so will demonstrate real leadership, care and intention in respecting those humans impacted by that change. And that’s a key bit I want to emphasize – Respect.

Change is hard. As leaders, it’s integral to respect the work and process that came before (even we don’t like them), respect the resistance to change, respect the employee journeys our teams are going through and respect the time and compassion needed to be successful in all of that change. 

Put the people before the process. And you’ll avoid a lot of those avoidable barriers to the change you’re trying to achieve.