Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bonita Brown's Tips for Facing Change

In the Baltimore Washington Metropolitan area, you would have to be under a rock not to hear about the effect that the economy has had on the life of Washingtonians. Economic discussions are everywhere and while you cannot escape it, what does that mean for you? Well, it often will mean that change is coming and how you handle that change will determine its impact on your quality of life.

Most people have a difficult time handling change and usually resist it especially in the workplace. Changes in the workplace can range from new or additional responsibilities to a new boss. Many are afraid that changes may mean hard times for the average worker. With the looming fear of losing your job, most employees are adhering to change begrudgingly. People are no longer comfortable with expressing their true feelings. Harboring your true feelings may lead to stress and resentment which can impact the quality of your work, your health and personal life.

How can you manage, handle or survive a change in the workplace during these economic times?

Here are four tips on handling change especially when your first inclination is to resist it.

1. Seek to understand the strategy behind the decision to change. If the change is a result of reorganization due to layoffs, then it is expected that those who remain will have to make adjustments to accommodate the work of your former co-workers. It may mean more work for those that are fortunate to avoid the layoff but it can be a situation that can be managed if communicated properly. If your manager has not provided an explanation of the re-distribution of work, then politely ask for clarification on the company's strategy to deal with the new workforce. The number one cause of conflict is the inability to communicate and when you are faced with the stress of change, it is a prime opportunity to establish a new relationship with the remaining staff.

2. Find ways to improve the flow of the work or the process. If you are suddenly asked to do more in the same amount of time, now is the time to find efficiencies in your work, work area or process. Not only will you work smarter rather than harder but you will gain respect and recognition (maybe even reward) with your manager or employer. Be creative and innovative, now is the time to make effective recommendations that will save the company time and money.
3. Build better relationships within the organization and with external customers. Become more of a team player so when you need assistance or have questions, you will have accessible resources available when necessary. Many times after a layoff, subject matter experts and experienced co-workers may no longer be available which may leave you with the responsibility to fill that void in an area with which you may not be familiar. After reorganization you may need to build additional, positive relationships to circumvent resistance from disgruntled workers that you need in order to perform your job. That’s why it’s important for you to establish a good relationship with co-workers and customers who are important components in achieving your goals.

4.Keep your work and personal life balanced. When you have more responsibility on the job, your personal life can and will be affected unless you take the necessary steps to maintain equilibrium. Working longer hours, being re-located or managing more staff are examples of new responsibilities that will affect your personal life. As with managing new work assignments, you may need to restructure your personal life, family obligations and schedule. Try to find ways to incorporate stability between your business and home life.

Bonita Brown, Executive/Business/Life Coach and president of E.B. Coaching and Consulting Services Inc., is a successful entrepreneur, coach and executive who brings to her coaching practice passion, caring and a desire to make a difference

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