During times of change, there are inherently some endings taking place. When endings happen, people can get angry, sad, frightened, depressed and confused. William Bridges, author of Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Changes (1991), suggests that in the workplace, these emotional states can be mistaken for bad morale, but they aren’t. Rather, they are signs of grieving, the natural sequence of emotions people go through when they lose something that matters to them (a job, a colleague, an office, a certain way of doing things, etc.). You find these emotions among families who have lost a member, and you find them in an organization where an ending has taken place. These emotions may not be evident at first, since people might deny the loss that has taken place. Denial is the natural first step of the grieving process, a way in which people who are hurting protect themselves from the impact of the loss.
Do you play a leadership role in your organization? Do you need to successfully lead during times of change? Change leadership requires attention to so many different things at once, for example, the cycle of change, resistance to change, communication, trust, engagement, creating a positive vision, strategic plans for moving forward, dealing with stress and conflict that can arise during times of change, positioning the changes as beneficial even if there are challenging elements to it, determining areas of influence and control, enhancing resiliency and performance in the midst of it all, and so forth. At the heart of these change management tasks is a leader’s ability to ensure a caring, genuine and responsive approach to the needs of others who are being both directly and indirectly impacted by the changes and transitions that are taking place.