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Build Your Leadership Capacity
August 9, 2019
What you don't see with your eyes, don't invent with your mouth.
-Jewish proverb

In an article that is part of the Exchange Essentials collection, “Build Your Leadership Capacity,” Meg McNulty writes: “By necessity, early childhood educators are masters of change. Change is the most reliable element in a classroom of young children. Children change more in their first five years of life than at any other time. What delighted Destiny this week, may not next week…Change is daily, at times hourly; yet, when change happens across a center, life as we know it can become unpredictable and upsetting.

Adults may cope with some change without even realizing they are adapting, and yet with other changes, adaptation seems impossible. This inconsistency may be because some change comes without warning or without a context for understanding it… you may find responses to change are much like a curious three year old: with questions: ‘Whose idea was it?’ - ‘How will it affect me?’ - ‘Will I be able to adapt to the change?’ - ‘Do I even want to?’”

McNulty offers a number of ideas for dealing with change, as does Peter Economy in an article on the Inc.com website. Here are five strategies Economy suggests:

"1. Take time to watch and listen
If you know changes are looming--and they are for most organizations--take time to watch and listen carefully to your employees. Whether it's a major restructuring or a modification to a well-established procedure, change (or even the anxiety over impending change) can unsettle your employees and negatively impact the workplace…Take time to observe and listen to the pulse of your organization, and then take steps to deal with the anxiety that you may detect.

2. Demonstrate your genuine concern
Great bosses realize that they can't achieve their goals if their people aren't performing at their very best. Employees, especially in times of stress and challenge, look to management for solutions. They seek guidance when they feel uncertain and isolated from organizational decisions that are out of their control. As a first step, be an example of transparency and honesty. Open the lines of communication between management and employees…

3. Fix what you can
After hearing concerns and gathering input, fix the things that you have control over. Often, uncertainty results from miscommunication or misunderstandings. If, after listening to your employees, you discover an easy solution to dispel their angst, take the initiative to fix whatever you can as quickly as you can. A reassuring word or guidance from management can have a profoundly positive impact on employees in times of uncertainty…

4. Be positive and look for opportunity
Remain positive. Challenge your employees to take initiative and seek out solutions, new ideas…As a group, come up with creative solutions to the new challenges created by change.

5. Train and prepare
If you have the opportunity and the resources, make time available to your employees to learn new skills. Give them an opportunity to prepare for change…"

Source: “5 Powerful Ways to Help Your Employees Cope with Change,” by Peter Economy, Inc.com

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