Implementing Method Change: Manager Behaviour
In an ideal world, organizational method change is always embraced and its role in helping companies to stay relevant and competitive is recognized. However, in reality, change is not always welcomed. There are a number of variables that affect the success of change adoption; one the biggest is manager behaviour and willingness to lead their teams through process and system changes.
Method change is always part of Trindent’s engagements but once a method change is outlined by our team, it requires the collaboration of both managers and employees to be successfully implemented. While resistance to change from employees is an anticipated challenge, it is the responsibility of their managers to lead them through the adjustment.
Leading from The Front
If the managers in your organization don’t believe in the method changes, neither will their teams. It’s important that trust in change starts from the top and makes it way down to the frontlines, so managers must lead by example.
What can executives and project sponsors do to ensure manager buy-in? Coaching managers to overcome their resistance is a good start. But it’s also important that managers are given a chance to provide input during the planning and design phase of the change, and that their suggestions be incorporated when possible. After all, they will inherit the new method being put in place and will be tasked with leading their teams to accept and embrace it. Giving managers a chance to have this input allows them to have ownership of the initiative and lets them feel invested in its success.
If managers can project a positive attitude and enthusiasm throughout the implementation of a method change prototype through to its full execution, it will inevitably lower employee resistance and drive their engagement and buy-in.
Breaking Down Employee Barriers
The phenomenon of employee resistance to change is more complex than it appears on the surface. At the root of resistance is fear of the unknown and fear of failure. It’s easy to discuss theoretical mockups and designs of new processes and systems and the positive impact they will have. But it’s important to remember that these changes have the potential to greatly transform the daily life of employees – they will be ones who have to bear the brunt of the new and unknown. The greater the potential impact of the changes on an employee, the greater their resistance may become, especially if their current environment is comfortable and stable.
Therefore, it’s important that managers not only have a positive attitude towards the method change, but that they take seriously their responsibility to lead employees through it. They have to communicate to their staff their vision for successful change and outline a clear path of how the team will get there together.
Change is a vague term, but by demystifying its components, managers can reassure staff. Managers have to remember that employees want to feel reassured that the future state will be better than the current state and that they will be supported through the process. Employees should feel that their managers are going through the lifecycle of the change with them and feel that there is open communication and a chance for input and feedback.
For change to successfully occur, the onus falls on managers to lead their staff through it. It’s the responsibility of managers to break the barrier of fear and to assure their staff that changes will be made systematically to facilitate better outcomes.
It takes leadership to effectively manage expectation and facilitate a transition from current to future state. Before searching for other factors that contribute to successful change management, it’s important to understand that trust in change starts from the top.
Click here to learn more about Trindent’s approach to active management.