Taking control of change: How to help your team cope with change

How good are you at helping your teams take control of change?

Does your team take on board your suggestions?

Let’s be clear, helping others take control of change can be hard to communicate.

Plans for change often seem scary to teams. And if we fail as managers to communicate a change to our team, that’s when we fail to take control of change, too.

So, what can you do to help your team embrace change?

First, understand change

In a way, we’re all afraid of change.

Even seasoned experts get jitters.

In fact, the path to dealing with change is to learn how to take control of change. And, then mastering change.

Let me explain.

A few years ago, I was finding myself getting busier and busier.

All great things to be honest. But, so much change made me dizzy.

I planned and plotted. I searched for advice here and everywhere. Read what I could. And, ingested so much management-speak that I nearly didn’t know my right side from my left.

Know that feeling?

But then, I landed on the characteristics of resilient management … it was a revelation.

Now let’s start taking control of change

The good news is taking control of change is easier than it seems.

A characteristic of resilient people is their capacity to achieve their goals even in the face of adversity.

How do they do this?

The huge secret is leadership creates a shift in power by taking control.

When we are unaware, we can feel like we have little or no control over the change that impacts us directly.

How many times have you heard teams say, “what can we do?”

More often, teams feel change is trusted upon them.

But leadership pushes a shift in energy from a powerless “what can I do?” to an energized “what can I do to make a difference?”

As a result, leaders bounce back while others feel helpless in their plight in life.

So, what can you do to take control of change with a new panache?

You know that looking at problems from a different angle can really change your perspective.

Taking control of change is the same process.

When you re-focus, your control of change also changes.

Things that you assumed were beyond your control are now under your control. And any aspects adopting an influence position suddenly come under your control as well.

Sounds good, right?

Shall I show you how?

Consider a recent change that has been announced in your company.

Using the worksheet below list those aspects that you consider Givens (those things beyond your control).

Next list those things that you think you can Negotiate (aspects that you can influence). And list those things that you would see as Controllable (under your control).

As you complete this exercise you will start to see that more and more things are within your control.

Using this approach results in a considerable shift of energy.

And what seems initially as givens or outside your control soon become more manageable.

Aspects of the change we cannot controlAspects of the change we influence Aspects of the change that my team can control

OK, so I’ve given you a neat little table.

This doesn’t mean that everything will change overnight. But, what I’ve given you will help your team start to change their mindset on what aspects of change they can control today.

Taking this learning out into the real world

People respond to different perspectives on situations because it helps them take control of change.

So, whenever you want to get your team to embrace change (or outline why a change is happening), use these simple three steps to show how we all can take control of change.


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Kay Fitzgerald M. A.

Kay Fitzgerald is a health promotion specialist, course developer and researcher studying personal resilience in the workplace and trauma. Catherine received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Studies and a Master’s in Health Promotion from University College Cork.

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