Especially in long-serving employees, the fear of leaving their comfort zone is very real. Turning to the hierarchical nature of many organisations again, this is not conducive to people being co-creators of change. Morale and performance improve when people feel they are part of something – that they are creating change and not being subjected to it. They won’t do this if they are crippled by fear. Within organisations undergoing change, individual and group fear is quickly transformed into resistance to change. As an employee or team member the reality of constantly managing change in the workplace can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Instead, you overcome the resistance by defining the change and by getting a mutual understanding. Strategy. Identifying a Fear-Based Culture There will be feelings of discomfort as people cope with loss. It is an imperative that employees understand that support exists for them, and that they are encouraged to seek support through the emotional journey of change. To feel a part of something bigger, you must understand it. In your business environment, are you the one creating change or is change being brought upon you? In this type of environment, our work transcends fear and instead becomes intrinsic and purpose-driven. Change is a necessity; we must change or we become obsolete. There are several styles of fear-based leadership, and several reasons why fear in the workplace spreads so easily – none of them good. You might expect a higher-level employee to be less concerned about being. When workplace fears lead to ongoing stress, discuss possible work changes with your supervisor or consult a medical doctor for advice. Encourage participation in ideation, problem solving, and brainstorming as you build the new culture. Instead, focus on opening and maintaining clear channels of communication with your employees, so they understand what is coming and what it means to them. Productivity falls, and progress toward goals is stifled. Despite our “superior” intelligence, we humans are not much different from these penguins when it comes to anxiety about change. We fear change at work for a variety of reasons. Yet nothing is as important to the survival of your organization as change. When they do so while working, it disrupts focus and flow. The secret to successfully managing change, from the perspective of the employees, is definition and understanding. This is often the most deeply hidden of all fears. In practice, there are 12 reasons why people resist change in the workplace: 1. The bottom line is, change isn’t going anywhere—so you’ll need to learn how to overcome your fear of it. Change takes this away: All these potential events accumulate in the mind and cause fear and panic. Almost two … But, she also points out that you can learn a lot from failure -- in fact, one company purposefully creates failure scenarios as a way to grow and learn. Failure of change projects is often blamed on bad management of change. For example: “Research shows that nearly 75 percent of all organisational change programs fail, not because leadership didn’t adequately address infrastructure, process, or IT issues, but because they didn’t create the necessary groundswell of support among employees.”. People may be fearful of losing their jobs, their salaries (or overtime, commissions, or bonuses), their colleagues, or even their bosses. Change is constant, and predictions of doom and gloom prevail. They fear they will lose their position and that their new role will require skills that they don’t possess. Today, it seems that we are living in a world filled with uncertainty. The workplace has continually changed and adapted throughout history, but the technological boom of the 21st century has accelerated this change enormously. Mistakes are punished, and so experimentation and innovation are stifled. Much of today’s workplace frustrations are caused by workers having a lack of empowerment in their role, little control over what effects them at work, and scant autonomy in how they perform their tasks. You have to help your people understand. Some employees will be enthusiastic supporters of change. Their fear of failure compels reluctance to adapt and learn, and they will ‘agitate’ to resist change at every opportunity. Fear can paralyze a person’s willingness to cooperate in the change process, and cause them to resist change. All are critical to making the changes work—and gee, life after the changes may get better. Your job is not to bulldoze their resistance so you can move ahead. … However, for the majority change is seen as challenging at best and impossible at worst. Even when the going gets tough. Overcome the Fear of Change. Liz Stincelli. Nothing has greater potential to cause failures, loss of production, or falling quality of work. Positivity surrounding change permeates from the top down. By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM Ensue that leaders understand how it feels to hear the change story for the first time before retelling it, Make the message stick by repeating in simple, clear, and concise language, Move from telling to asking, getting people involved in change by proactively asking for opinions and ideas, Use many channels to communicate and reinforce messages. Change, Fear, Leadership: Overcoming the Fear of Change in the Workplace. the lack of clarity and alignment around strategies, priorities, goals, measures and supporting expected values / behaviors drives uncertainty and “fear” at some level. It’s crucial that your employees acknowledge the change in a way that helps them overcome... 2. The predictability of their daily tasks, their job, and even their career has disappeared. The challenge for organisations is how do they empower the understanding that creates a family pulling in one direction. In the case of the desk that has to be moved, tell the employee what's going on. But it is not the implementation of change that is managed badly, it is the poor management of people’s fear – the beating heart of resistance to change. 6. Resistance to change comes from a fear of the unknown or an expectation of loss. A general lack of clarity and alignment about managing work. Uncertainty removes this. It is imperative that people are aligned with the vision and objectives of change. Use this time to help people overcome these fears and instil a culture in which work times are when people get their work done and achieve results. Why do people fear change? The front end of an individual's resistance to change is how they perceive the change. This is a place where employees are encouraged to take risks and not fear failure. The answer is by employing an effective communication strategy. Why can't things stay like they have always been? This triggers fear of change in the workplace, causing people to become anxious, stressed, depressed, and feel fatigued. These committees not only empower people in the change process, but provide exceptional opportunities to reinforce the rationale for the change and dispel fears that employees may have. It’s crucial that your employees acknowledge the change in a way that helps them overcome their fear of failure. The starting point to create a positive change culture is to measure and understand your current organisational culture. In their article ‘Changing change management’ for McKinsey & Company, Boris Ewenstein, Wesley Smith, and Ashvin Sologar say that organisations “are being forced to adapt and change to an unprecedented degree: leaders have to make decisions more quickly; managers have to react more rapidly to opportunities and threats; employees on the front line have to be more flexible and collaborative. Many companies have struggled to adapt to change, and the world of business is all about survival of the fittest. In order to move into a Motivation 3.0 workplace culture, leaders must provide trust, growth opportunities, and meaning in order to achieve it. Use of negative language and metaphors can lead to unnecessary fear and unwarranted confusion about the nature and scope of the change. Left unchecked, this resistance can scupper even the most meticulously planned change initiatives. Learn How to Motivate Employees After Large Business Changes, How to Manage Change and Build Employee Commitment, How to Deal With a Bully in the Workplace, If You Want to Build Successful Teams, Use These 12 Tips, How to Use Empathy to Improve Your Workplace. Once you’re able to deal with the fear component of the equation, your decision making will naturally become more rational and calculated. It’s a kind of rigidity. In my life, I went from being a cashier making minimum wage, to getting a Ph.D. from Berkeley, to owning a small business. History is full of examples of organizations that failed to change and are now extinct. But what exactly is it, and how can an organisation and its leaders and managers help their employees overcome their fears during change? A culture of change must be created and maintained. And, of course, fear of retrenchment, especially in today’s challenging economic climate. By helping... 3. Acknowledge your Fears. To do this, leaders and managers discuss the future vision and the benefits of executing change. There is much empirical evidence to support this. The most important thing to do when change is happening in the workplace is to acknowledge it. June 17, 2011. They want to know what the change will be and when it will happen, but they also want to know why. Get your people involved with the changes you propose. Will their new colleagues accept them into the team? This often means that organizational reward systems must be altered in some way to support the change that you want to implement. And the top salesperson's sales may drop to the point that you stop considering them for the new account. Such fears will often manifest in resistance to change. In a fear-based culture, managers and HR people specialize in assigning work, measuring results, punishing... 3. Understanding is also a two-way street. Fear is a negative emotion given birth from negativity. … In an organizational setting, any process, technological advancement, systems, or product change will include streamlining, working smarter, cost reduction, efficiency, faster turnaround times. Exposing Fear Of Change Effects of Fear of Change. Acknowledge the Change. It is also important that they understand what is not changing. By helping employees to make valuable comparisons like this, managers will help them to overcome their fears and remain positive. It often works with anxiety,... Anxiety and Fear of Change work together. March 4, 2016 “Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.” —Sydney J. Harris. Self-doubt forces people to maintain the status quo, preferring to remain in their comfort zone and not test themselves. Make time for people to discuss their fears outside of the normal work routine. You Can Become an Effective Active Listener, How to Know and What to Do If an Employment Termination Looms, How to Show Employees That Your Company Values Diversity and Inclusion, How Organizations Destroy Trust With Their Employees, Understand Team Culture and the Role of Clear Expectations in Success, How to Reduce Employee Resistance to Change in the Workplace. Successful change only happens when people’s values and beliefs align with those of the organisation. It can be managed if done right. Yet if the reason you moved it those six inches was to fit in another worker in an adjacent desk, there may be high resistance to the change. In these, people naturally turn to their supervisors and managers for support. Nothing is as upsetting to your people as change. Do they perceive it as a good or a bad thing. Do you shut the door and hide from it or do you welcome that change? Instead of punishing mistakes, all employees are incentivised to be entrepreneurial, creative, and to contribute. The employee whose desk you had to move will develop production problems. Foster empowerment, control, and autonomy—People don’t resist change; they resist being controlled. 1. It encourages procrastination, inhibits personal growth, and impedes organisational progress. Varelas says, if anything, it's how organizations respond to, deal with and eventually move on from failure that can be the most telling about their overall success. Employees who realise the potential of developing skills and gaining a wider experience in terms of their own career advancement will be more flexible and adaptable. It’s a human emotional state that takes much more than rational thought and logical persuasion to manage. This can lead to frustration within individuals and cause the change project to fall short of its real potential. To manage change effectively, you must help people overcome their fear of change. Self-doubt is often caused by past experiences, comparisons with others, and fear of failure. Diminishing Fear in the Workplace. The top worker who keeps declining the promotion may quit rather than have to continue making up excuses for turning you down. Uncertainty gives them an adrenaline rush that pushes them to achieve. When a major event happens that poses an existential threat, many of the norms of life change, some in the short term and some for the long term. They understand how their boss works, and what is required of them. Fear and company culture go together as well as drinking orange juice right after you’ve brushed your teeth: terribly. Not only does this allow for one less thing to stress about, but it also provides an anchor, something to hold onto as they face the winds of uncertainty and change. It is a complex web of potential loss that drives this fear. By helping people openly discuss their fears, managers can open a dialogue which puts fear in perspective by asking them what would happen if the event they fear happened. Change is essential so that the organizations we work for can stay ahead of the game. They have worked with colleagues so long they can almost finish each other’s sentences. In most cases fear of change stops us from taking action. Managing change means managing people's fear. Here are eight pointers to help your organisation do this. Here are 10 more signs: 1. Managers can then compose real-life examples to demonstrate how similar change has been handled successfully previously. Anxiety, fear and stress are all inevitable in the modern-day workplace. However, when things change, most of us are often scared and become uneasy. Our dreads arise often due to the fear of disappointment, fear of refusal, fear of disapproval and fear … Our sales have increased by 40%, and we can't meet that demand, even with lots of overtime. When change happens in the workplace, your employees may fear for their jobs. 1. Therefore, it is crucial that change managers and change sponsors remain positive even if things should go awry. 3. 10 Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of Change at Work. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs security and safety are among the six basic needs of humans. People will worry. Your job as a leader is to address their resistance from both ends to help the individual reduce it to a minimal, manageable level. Change is a necessity; we must change or we become obsolete. High level sponsors role model new behaviours and demonstrate their commitment to change. Neither an organisation nor its leaders and managers can afford to leave their employees’ fears unmanaged. The first step to overcoming fear is to acknowledge that you are, in fact, scared. "We need to bring in more workers. Let's take a look at why people fear change and address ways to become a change agent. Many people are fearful of upsetting others, but during a period of change this fear is often heightened. The front end of an individual's resistance to change is how they perceive the change. The first step to overcoming fear is to acknowledge that you are, in fact, scared. They will be unwilling to try new methods. Why is it happening now? Intelligent, mature and driven employees will manage their fear and look for avenues to adjust to change and thrive in the new environment. Yet, as an organisation, you want people to be active participants and collaborate in the change project – people tend not to destroy what they create. Finally, be constantly aware of the emotional response to the new culture and change within the organisation – manage fears. People fear if they upset others then they will be in the spotlight, and that this may put their jobs at risk. Ask the employees to join you in that endeavor because only the team can make the change happen. If you try and bulldoze this resistance, you will fail. Please note: JavaScript is required to post comments. These fears are often associated with fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection, fear of criticism and fear of the unknown. Suddenly, they have a multitude of worries: They must answer all such questions, often without their old support network around them. If you move an employee's desk six inches, they may not notice or care. Fear of external threat is defined as feelings of uncertainty that result from sources outside an employee’s organization. An individual's degree of resistance to change is determined by whether they perceive the change as good or bad, and how severe they expect the impact of the change to be on them. Sally Stanleigh. Definition is a two-way street. Finding healthy ways of responding to each is key to furthering your career and the … You could even ask the employees how they think the space should be rearranged. That’s the real art of it. The fear of change is a major driver of resistance to change and change failure. “Why fix what isn’t broken?” they will ask. The starting point is to understand the unique and individual fears people tend to experience during organisational change. This is where managers must be at their most proactive, getting people involved by proposing committees and enlisting participants with diverse skills and backgrounds to help drive the change. Self-doubt is a driver of many of the fears of change mentioned above. “Change is life,” Kerr concludes. The change does not have to always be major or costly. You don't have to accept their suggestions, but it's a start toward understanding. People who are afraid of upsetting others will hold back on ideation. ‘How to build an agile foundation for change’. Well, we are afraid of change in the workplace for several reasons. You also need to understand their reluctance. Prepare yourself by understanding the process of change and some of the normal responses to change you may experience. You need to define the change for the employee in as much detail, and as early as you can on the front end, Provide updates as things develop and become clearer. Doing so, you can create plans to deal with legitimate downsides while anticipating the upside. If people know little about the change, the unknown of change will loom large over their emotional state, and the more fear of change they will experience. They won’t express their views or opinions openly. Change can bring fear and anxiety as employees face the unknown. (3) Surprise and fear of the unknown Driving the fear out of the workplace is essential to unleashing employees’ potential, confidence and innovation – vital ingredients to a thriving, successful business.