When Change is Not Welcome

The time has finally arrived, my acquisition project is completed and it is time for me to move into my new role as a Team Lead for the group just transitioned over to my company.  Now I will need to manage a different kind of change, my own, and how I will begin to think as a people manager instead of a project manager.

As a people manager my results will no longer be based on how far I am on any assigned project with my deliverables and budget.  Instead, my results will be based on that of my employees.  How are their results?  Are they accomplishing what they have been assigned?  Are they doing it efficiently?  Why or why not?

As my first order of business, I will sit down individually with everyone on the team to listen to their input on how their jobs are currently going and how they think things could be done better.  I have already had some brief conversations with members of the team who see room for improvement in a task or process, but are afraid to voice their thoughts to others on the team for fear that they will be met with resistance.  I’m sure we’ve all worked with individuals who live by the phrases, “this is how it’s always been” and “that will never work,” but it will be my job to help the team work through this fear of change to understand that we must continue to challenge the current ways of doing things in order to transform the business.  My strategy for handling these situations is to ask why and to charge everyone on the team to evaluate our current ways of doing things and ask why we do them.  If there isn’t a good reason then we should come up with a better solution.  Communication will be important during this time of change as I think people will be less resistant if we are open about why the change is necessary.  I also want the team to understand that we aren’t making changes just to make changes, so the reasoning must be clear and open.  As the trust builds and we collaborate as a team to make the business better, my hope is that more people on the team will feel comfortable in bringing their ideas forward.

What are some tips you have found useful in countering resistance to changes in processes?


5 thoughts on “When Change is Not Welcome

  1. Melissa,
    Nice post! You have shown that you have put some thought into how your own personal change could impact the team you will soon lead. You are already on the right track and the only bit of advice I would add would be to communicate, communicate and communicate some more. Change is scary but if your team knows what to expect and understand that you hear their concerns the process will go much smoother.
    Good luck to you,

  2. Thank you for reading my blog and commenting, Leslie. I appreciate your advice about communicating. I always think it is better to overcommunicate than to undercommunicate, so that is the philosophy I will take with me as I work through the changes with the team.


  3. I started NOT to ask for the reasons of “old” behavior because there are always reasons for old behavior. I more and more ask “what are the costs of old behavior” and “what happens if nothing happens?”.
    After that I start asking “How do you want us to act in the future” and “please describe as specific as possible our behavior once we achieved an exellent level”.
    So I try to constantly support port people the disired state. Most of the time it helps …;-)
    Best regards and congrats to your blog. Very promising!

  4. sorry: I meant:
    “So I try to constantly support people to visualize the disired state. Most of the time it helps …;-)”

    • Thank you for commenting, Thomas. I like the idea of supporting people to visualize the desired state rather than focusing on the reasons behind “old” behavior. I think a big part of being a leader is having a vision, being able to communicate it, and influencing people to reach it.


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