October 16, 2020
The Heavy Load of Change Management for Leaders and Teams
Finding ways to be mindful of employees’ needs and bring compassion to the workplace is tricky for leaders in a fast-paced corporate culture where decisions can be made in an instant. And the multiple ways that the workplace has changed since the beginning of the year have caused the need for leaders to shift their mindsets even more.
The spread of the novel Coronavirus and resulting hit to the American economy found 22 million people without jobs this spring, adding stress, anxiety, and other disruption to a workforce already feeling stressed. Right now, it’s primarily on the shoulders of leaders and managers to help restore balance, and bringing a mindful approach to work can help employees at all levels process and accept organizational change more readily.
Bringing Mindfulness to Workplace Developments
Organizational changes often happen quickly, not allowing much time for managers and teams to process and adapt. It can sometimes feel like the change is happening to us, not for us. Whether it be something small, such as the implementation of new software, or something larger like moving to a new office, each team member’s feelings about the change are real and need to be heard and validated.
This is where mindfulness can help. Mindfulness is about being aware and attentive to what’s happening in the moment, including feelings and reactions, even if those feelings are uncomfortable to sit with. The path toward accepting change can begin with a few easy mindfulness practices, and it all starts with a change journey.
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The Importance of Developing a Change Journey
So what, exactly, is a change journey? It’s a common saying that “change happens one individual at a time,” which means that it’s the individuals that not only implement the change but also affect its outcome. In other words, even if the change has been a long time coming and will be beneficial to the company, it can be met with great resistance and stalled at the individual level without the openness or opportunity for change journeys.
One of the most important things about change journeys is that individuals must be allowed to process and accept the change according to their own timeline. Especially during a pandemic situation where everyone is experiencing unique concerns. But along that journey, mindfulness and change management together can be a powerhouse that helps teams and managers move forward with peace and acceptance.
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Developing Self-Awareness During Company Changes
A common misconception about organizational change is that team members often feel as though they have to bury their true feelings and pretend to be completely and immediately on board with what’s happening. Regardless of the size or gravity of what’s going to be different, giving individuals permission to acknowledge their feelings during this time is a major step in the change management process.
The emotions that individuals experience in the face of company changes can run the spectrum, and each person must be met with a safe space without judgment. Allowing each individual to be self-aware of how the change makes them feel can be an important cornerstone in their individual change journeys.
Mindfully Deciding How to React to Organizational Change
Along with being self-aware about how they’re feeling about the change, team members must also realize during their change journey that they have complete control over how they react to it. Regardless of what kind of feelings are evoked by change, individuals are often surprised to learn that they hold this power.
Staying present and in the moment with mindfulness during a change journey can help managers and team members assess how they’re reacting, and take control if they find themselves reacting to the situation in a way they don’t like. Using these mindful moments, this self-awareness can help steer the change journey in a more desirable direction.
Move Through Organizational Change with Mindfulness
Change journeys and change management take time. Unpacking and moving through emotions and reactions is not a process that can be hurried, and while it may sound like hard work, the end result is worth it.
When managers and team members move through workplace changes together with mindfulness, everyone can move forward in the same direction and organizational change can continue to successfully drive the company’s future. Sign up for eM Life today and explore all of the ways that mindfulness can help realign your body and mind both in and out of your work environment.
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Written by Becky Greiner