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How to Lead in Times of Change

Hint: It all comes down to a little positivity and prep.

Image by huePhotography/ Getty Images

By Kimberly Pack

Change is inevitable. So often, we encounter rapid change taking place in multiple areas of our lives simultaneously. For many of us, change is the name of the game at work. Most of our organizations have embraced concepts like continuous improvement and efficiency. They have accepted the challenge of thinking critically about how work is being performed, and by whom.

There are always plenty of conversations in hallways, in elevators, and in the cafeteria about the changes that are taking place. But do we ever take a moment to consider how these changes personally and emotionally impact us? What’s our tolerance for change? What’s our approach to change? Do we thrive in change cultures? Do we shrink?

Here are some lessons on change I’ve learned along my career journey.

Be present.

During change, we should be aware of our behaviors and feelings. We must understand how we approach change, and pay attention to our personal transition through cycles of change. We should also be mindful that our team members and peers may be experiencing the change differently than us. We should aim to be empathetic and help our staff and colleagues move through the change cycles where we can. Rewarding desired behaviors and celebrating successes should be an integral part of every leader’s change management process.

Be positive.

Even if our initial reactions are ones of panic and fear, we should work to calm our thoughts and look for the positive aspects of the changes we’re facing. What new opportunities will arise? How will this make our job better? People generally prefer working with more positive individuals, and this is especially the case during periods of change. As leaders, it’s crucial that we diligently and repeatedly share the reasoning for changes we enact, as well as our vision for the future. Our staff should be able to look to us to model desired actions and behaviors.

Be proactive.

No matter our level in the organization, we have a part to play in organizational change. We should strive to understand the drivers of change and the desired results. We should look for ways to contribute to the results and consider volunteering for some of the new activities that inevitably arise in times of change.

Be prepared.

As stated earlier, change is inevitable. Thus, we should prepare for it now. As professionals, it is our responsibility to learn skills, acquire attributes, and take actions that contribute to successful change. We must get real about the skills we currently possess and what areas we want and need to develop further. As managers of people, we should evaluate how we lead through change. As change leaders, we must make sure that we have a change management plan in place that will help others along through cycles of change.

Change is constant, and often required to achieve desired results. For optimal success, all of us should get in tune with how we and those around us manage change.

A Chicago native, Kimberly Pack is currently based out of northern New Jersey. She has been in legal and compliance for ten years.

Originally published at

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