Change is constant, and it is essential for your team to understand the nature of change. The effect of change on the individual influences all aspects of the team. Change often creates fear and uncertainty in a team; the members of your team need to understand the nature of change. They need to know what to expect when change happens and how to prepare for it.
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Causes of Change
The causes of change can either be internal or external. All teams are subject to external forces that are constantly interacting with its existence. Team members usually have little control over external factors such as politics, economics, technology, culture and societal changes. It is vital for them to understand that if the change is due to external factors, they need to accept the change and modify any internal processes affected by the external influence.
There are a wide range of internal factors influencing change that can include almost any item or event within a team. Some of the likely internal influences include policies, team structure, leadership and finances. Internal influences to changes can be controlled, and you can prepare your team for the outcomes of such events. Tools such as education, communication, training and support will help mitigate negative outcomes which may arise as a result of the change.
How People React to Change
Individuals react differently to change and understanding the different reactions to change will help you in managing changes. The following are some of the most common ways that people react to change.
- Anger – Change can sometimes cause people to experience anger. Some team members may lash out and become uncooperative when confronted with change. Humans find comfort in their habits and changes may cause inner conflict which can manifest as anger.
- Resistance – There will always be resistance to change that stems from a fear of the unknown. The fear of the unknown during the process of change may often lead to strong resistance within a team.
- Indifference – Some of the members of the team may not care, or think the changes do not have much impact on their tasks. These individuals may be indifferent because they do not understand or accept the change.
- Denial – Some of the team members may believe that the change is not required. These individuals may be reluctant to listen to – or deny – any information presented to support the change.
- Acceptance – These team members realize that changes usually are for the better and can have a positive influence on the team. Acceptance may not happen right away but should happen quicker than if changes are experienced as negative.
Tools to Facilitate the Change Process
Preparing your team for the changes will increase the likelihood that the changes will be successfully implemented. The following are some tools that you can use to help facilitate the change process and deal with any negative reactions that may occur.
- Education – Educate your team members on the reasons for the change and what the expected outcomes will be. People like to know why changes occur and educating your team members will clear up any rumors that may have spread.
- Communication – It is vital to keep the channels of communication open during and after changes have occurred. Open communication will help with any unforeseen events that may arise. See also: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities
- Training – Keep your team members trained to ensure they have the necessary skills to cope with the changes.
- Flexibility – When change is planned for not all events can be foreseen. Be flexible and ready to revise or update the current plan to account for any unforeseen events.
- Affected Parties – It is especially beneficial to have the individuals that are involved in the change participate in the change process. They may be able to shed light into the subject from an expert’s point of view.