Dealing with Change

John Krautzel
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As a manager, you deal with change on two ends of the spectrum. You have to keep your bosses happy while maintaining a good rapport with your team. Changes may appear unexpectedly and without warning, and they could cause anxiety among the staff.

How you deal with change represents a challenge. On the inside, you could have several feelings such as fear of the unknown, avoidance, denial or full-blown anxiety. Meanwhile, on the outside, you must put on airs for the people around you. If you try laughing it off or having a sense of humor about the situation, your co-workers may start asking questions before long. Yet, showing an angry side does not work well either.

Consider a coaching strategy that helps you deal with change while protecting your own feelings. In three steps, you move from a condition-controlled position where your feelings react to what happens to a self-management strategy in which you take action.

1. Take Action

Instead of sitting around and moping while you deal with change, gather information about the situation. Once you have a better grasp of what has occurred, ask your superiors what you can do to help mitigate any problems. Empirical information can help calm your nerves, because once you know what you're up against, you can develop a plan of attack. Knowing that you don't know something just makes the changes worse.

2. Manage the Situation

Understand that you cannot change some aspects of the situation. Just like any coaching strategy on a sports team, you have no control over what the opposing team does on the field. What you can control is how your team responds to those maneuvers. Deal with change by maintaining productivity where you can, even if that is not the same position you held previously. Tell your team where to focus its efforts rather than throwing up your hands and surrendering.

3. Keep It Simple

Keep things as simple as possible as the change takes effect. Ask what you can do to improve the situation as you and the team move forward with a new set of behavior. Now is the time to take care of yourself once you put the team on a new course.

Consider mapping out, in writing, how the changes happen within your organization. Although an organizational change may not represent what happens in your office, the theories remain the same. Determine how to make your part in the change more efficient. How can you reduce waste on your team? How can you make your team more productive and more valuable to your superiors? A little research into this can go a long way.

No one likes to deal with change, especially a sudden shift that blindsides people at the office. Changes can bring about fear and even panic when they disrupt a normal pattern. Learn what you can change in your own behavior to minimize how uncontrollable changes affect your management style.

Photo courtesy of jesadaphorn at



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