In my last article, I discussed the five things that effective change leaders do every day. The onus also rests with change managers, who will be much closer to the coalface, and encounter problems even more vociferously than change leadership further up the line.
The need for change managers to be proactive is no less imperative than it is for change leaders.
Again, the effectiveness of the change manager lays in their ability to anticipate the challenges ahead and plan for them.
Managing resistance to change is a big part of the change manager’s daily input, though this isn’t the only input the effective and proactive change manager will have. Here are five things effective change managers do every day, and that you as a change manager must put in your diary on a daily basis.
1) Change managers are forward looking
Look ahead and anticipate problems before they arise. In team meetings listen to concerns and encourage people to think about how next steps will affect them and the people around them. Talk about the need for change and the benefits that will be produced. All this will help you to plan for a solution before the problem arises: and this will instill confidence in your management of the change project.
Be dedicated to the change, committed to your team, and empower people to ask questions and seek solutions as a team: confidence in you will grow accordingly.
2) Change managers cope with resistance effectively
The one constant that change managers will face is resistance to change. Communication is key, as is feedback. Identify key resistors and deal with them early, but sympathetically, too. Encourage people to voice concerns and discuss their issues openly, honestly, and in the knowledge that you will understand and help them work through their issues. Instill confidence in the change project and in you as a change leader, and resistance will begin to ebb away.
3) Change managers are conflict managers
Change projects disrupt people’s lives. They come into conflict with processes, procedures, and each other. As a change manager you are responsible for managing these conflicts as soon as possible. If you know your team, you may be able to identify these conflicts before they happen, and plan for them accordingly.
Help people with their personal conflicts, and offer your time and experience. Sometimes the conflict will bring to the fore a problem in the change project itself: this is where you need to be most flexible and report up the line to the change leadership.
4) Change managers must be proactive with stumbling blocks
Though you have planned the change project, your plans will need to be flexible: nothing ever goes exactly according to plan! There will be stumbling blocks and hurdles to negotiate.
If morale is high, these obstacles are easier to take in your stride.
Expect the hurdles, prepare for them, and jump over them with ease. Ensure that your team also expects them to happen, and reinforce the need for change. Together, find the solution and the change project will move ahead with even more gusto.
5) Above all else, effective change managers put their team first
High morale and confidence in your management goes hand-in-hand with how high you place your team in the pecking order. Throughout the change project you will need to work with other teams, departments, and divisions. It may be that you have to fight for the resources you need: remember, if you don’t get them and haven’t put forward your case, then any shortcoming will be your fault.
Your team needs to know that you have their back, and that you are in this for them. Every day, develop your personal relationships within the organization and be cooperative: look for areas of mutual benefit and grow your team’s stature within the organization.
Be proactive every day for effective change management
Change managers work every day to make their team become an effective link in the change project. They are conflict resolvers, resistance managers, and flexible in their approach. They will build relationships across the organization and work with their team to overcome the stumbling blocks that will inevitably exist. These are the everyday tasks of the change manager.