Change Management Tip: Acknowledge the Grief Produced by Change

sad guyDuring 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.

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