Coping with Change
What comes to mind when you hear the word change? Do you instantly groan inside and start to panic? Or do you let out a sigh of relief and say, “about time”? Are you someone who enjoys introducing new ideas? Or do you prefer to rely on tried and tested methods?
Our world is constantly changing and we are taught that we must adapt in order to learn, grow and improve. This is no different in the workplace; with change being the second most important topic for leaders in organisations*. While the benefits of embracing change, such as improved workplace wellbeing**, are well documented; some people find it easier to accept than others.
So, what do you do if the very thought of change sends shivers down your back? Or if you manage a team of people who would prefer to stick to the status quo?
Well one way to encourage yourself, or others, to welcome change is to focus on your working environment and relationships. According to research, people were more accepting of change if they worked in an organisation that promoted interpersonal sensitivity, respect and kindness towards others**. Additionally, people were more likely to actively support changes at work if their manager was willing to listen to and discuss employee concerns surrounding the change***. This suggests that we find it easier to cope with change when we are in supportive and caring environments.
Another way to deal with change is to understand your preferred approach to change. Research has demonstrated that there is a positive correlation between people’s self-awareness and their change orientation****. This suggests that people with a greater awareness of their innate preferences are more receptive to change. The model used by the Change Style Indicator (CSI) proposes that there are 3 different change styles: conserver, originator and pragmatist. Understanding your own preference, and that of others, allows you to deal with change in a way conducive to your preferred style and informs others how they can best support you through a period of change*.
While you may never enjoy change, a supportive network and an awareness of your preferred coping strategies will make the transition a little less painful.
Learn more about the Change Style Indicator.
*Dinwoodie, D., Pasmore, W., Quinn, L., & Rabin, R. (2015). Navigating change: A leader’s role. Center for Creative Leadership, 1-10.
**Di Fabio, A., Giannini, M., Loscalzo, Y., Palazzeschi, L., Bucci, O., Guazzini, A., & Gori, A. (2016). The challenge of fostering healthy organizations: An empirical study on the role of workplace relational civility in acceptance of change and well-being. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 1748.
***Vakola, M. (2016). The reasons behind change recipients’ behavioral reactions: A longitudinal investigation. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 31(1), 202 – 215.
****Galleno, L., & Liscano, M. (2013). Revitalizing the self: Assessing the relationship between self-awareness and orientation to change. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 3(16), 62-71.