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Coping with Change at Work
Have you ever seen The Croods? If you’re a mom, or are around small children for any amount of time, chances are you have. The move portrays a family of cavepeople, headed by an extremely overprotective father who doesn’t like anything that’s NEW. Even when the world he knows is falling apart (literally) around him, he still resists embracing changes.
I have always been scared of change. Don’t get me wrong, I can adapt…and quickly. But, the initial fear is overwhelming. I’m more comfortable when there are no unknowns. I like schedules and familiarity. When changes are coming, I get anxious.
The funny thing is that when major changes have happened in my life, my world usually gets better. I’m forced to embrace exciting challenges, and I really grow as a person. Every time, I tell myself that the next time changes are coming, I will embrace them with full faith and will automatically know that great things are going to happen. But, that never happens.
What about when changes happen at work? Your ability to support your family depends on your ability to succeed at your job. If something isn’t going your way, you can’t just throw a temper tantrum like a 6-year old (sorry, totally throwing my son under the bus, he started throwing tantrums when I picked him up today).
Changes manifest themselves in different ways. For example, your company may implement a totally new software, adopt a new way of processing paperwork, or change team members around. You may be placed into a different department, with different co-workers, and a new supervisor. Everything you know could be different.
How do you cope?
1. Stay calm, and don’t panic
Take a deep breath, and focus on the fact that upper management aren’t making changes because they’re bored. They might not always make the best decisions, but they are truly trying to do what’s best for the company as a whole. Don’t fight them on it. Not only will it make the transition for you harder, but you’ll be seen as inflexible, which is never a good thing.
You might not like the change, but showing negativity before the change has even had a chance to be implemented may prevent you from seeing the whole picture. Managers have entire departments, or companies, to think about. They can’t always be working to make everyone happy. That’s an impossible feat in any arena.
2. Do your homework
Research the reasons behind the change. The more knowledge you have, the more you might see that the changes is happening for a reason. Yes, it may suck that you lost your favorite supervisor, or you are going to be part of a team of coworkers you’ve never met…but suck it up, buttercup. You may learn that the new change is going to make you happier and, therefore, more productive. You may be challenged more than you could have possibly imagined…and doors may open for you that were previously bolted shut.
Find out what has been happening within the company. Are certain products or services not selling? Is one department underperforming? Are new markets emerging? Are your new co-workers or supervisors more focused on building positive teams? How can you form an educated opinion if you don’t have all of the facts? Worst case scenario…you might find a flaw in the decision that the managers hadn’t considered. If you have sound reasoning behind you, the upper echelon will be more likely to listen to your concerns. However, if you approach them with aggression, and with no facts to support your stance…you don’t stand a chance.
3. Improve your productivity and organizational skills
Focus on improving the way you approach your job, and the energy caused by stressing about a change can be funneled into a positive vehicle. When changes approach, you don’t want to be seen as the employee that starts slacking off because they “want to see where things are going.” Managers won’t see that you’re being cautious…they’ll see you are slacking off. Managers don’t want employees that aren’t contributing their best., however, they will respect the employees that are working hard.
I’ve never been in a management position (yet), but I can see the stress that’s caused by negative people. Negative emotions are contagious and they bring the whole atmosphere of the office down. Don’t be the reason that everyone’s morale plummets.
4. Change your mindset
You can choose to view change as exciting and challenging, or negative and debilitating. Thing about where the world would be if no one embraced change. I wouldn’t be writing this post on my laptop, and I wouldn’t have my Smart phone sitting next to me. My husband wouldn’t be watching NCIS: Los Angeles on our flat screen TV with our Comcast On Demand feature. Change is good…so just have faith that everything is going to work out.
Create a positive and optimistic attitude at work, this approach causes MUCH more pleasure than always looking at the glass as half empty. It totally improves your quality of life.