During June we gathered the key leaders we’ve been working with this year, having met with them one to one during the previous month. As Phil and I spent time reflecting in preparation for June’s gathering, change seemed to be the common theme that emerged from our one to ones.
The truth is, none of us can escape change. Change is inevitable and absolutely necessary as we seek to bring transformation. Sometimes we are the ones leading change, for example, when God asks us to tweak what exists or move in a different direction. At other times it can feel like change is being forced upon us and we have very little control.
June’s gathering posed the question: “How can we help ourselves or others when change happens?”
1. Recognise how you or others respond to change
Are you a Tigger, Rabbit, Pooh Bear or Eeyore? Do you recognise yourself, and maybe others below:
Eeyore-type people are firmly entrenched in their views. For every positive they can think of 10 negatives. Even support and challenge may not be enough to bring change. The key thing
here is to prevent these individuals from taking other people with them.
Rabbit-type people are generally receptive to new ideas, they will see the advantages, but will not always get round to implementing new approaches. They tend to need the support and encouragement from a leader to put new things into action.
Tigger-type people are wildly enthusiastic with regards to change, being open and
receptive to new ideas and suggestions. For ‘Tiggers’ change will take place with or without action / input from others.
Pooh Bear-type people tend to be significantly reluctant when it comes to change. They’re happy in their comfort zones. Support / challenge from a leader
will be necessary to bring about change.
2. Understand the emotions involved in change
Davies and Brighouse explain, ‘Without emotion we would have no capacity to change’. Emotions are necessary for change to happen and people’s feelings need to be considered. If people have positive attitudes and feelings towards change, they will have an increased feeling of accomplishment and self esteem, whereas if people have negative attitudes and feelings they will be less committed and motivated and may feel a level of stress.
Fisher (2012) describes the emotions people face as they experience change by way of a transition curve including feelings such as being anxious, happy, fearful, depressed. Negative feelings can be minimised if appropriate interventions are actioned.
3. Get/ give the right support
Once people recognise and understand why change is necessary and are motivated to move from their comfort zone, they will need support in working through the change. Change is a process and people will move through the process at different speeds.
People will be learning about the change and its implications and so need appropriate training,
coaching and mentoring.