Top 10 Tips to Get Positive Reactions to Change

By Martin Haworth
Martin Haworth

Where managers instigate or implement change, there is a strong need for making sure that they take steps to bring everyone along.

This must be driven by managers themselves, for the changes they lead must engage with those who need to follow for the most value-creating outcomes to be achieved.

Here are 10 top tactics the best managers adopt to ensure that change has the best chance of success:

1. Build Relationships in Advance

By ensuring that your style is to engage with your people at all times, when the chips are down they will help you make change much easier to implement. Building trust is the key and the earlier you start, the better.

2. Communicate Fully

When change is in the air, employees need information voids filled, or this will encourage gossip and speculation. Giving as much information - as clearly as you can - will bring more people onboard with the changes and avoid some of the confusion, frustration and ultimately, confrontation.

3. Involve the Team in Ownership

As change involves everyone, it's only right that they should be fully involved too. Seeking input at an early stage makes them sense that all control is not lost, which will help them feel less vulnerable.

4. Listen Carefully

During change, people feel that they need to be heard. That's one of your key roles - to show that you appreciate them and their position, by listening carefully to what they say. Using active listening skills helps to build the relationship and reduces friction.

5. Respond to Questions

There will be many questions to field when change affects people and you have to do your best to field them as considerately as possible. Whilst you may need to follow a process for many reasons, you can sill answer their questions where you are able - and explain why you can't in other situations.

6. Focus on the 'What'

The key outcomes of change are the 'what' of the exercise and that has to be, most often, a given. It's changes that are going to happen and that might not be very flexible (don't be tempted to flinch here, whatever the provocation).

7. Be Flexible on the 'How'

Yet often there are opportunities to deliver the outcomes you need in a variety of ways as well. Where you show some flexibility in the 'how' to achieve an outcome, you will find that engages your people all the more.

8. Involve Others in Solution Finding

So, you can always ask! If you have flexibility in the 'how' of outcomes being delivered, get your people on board with finding the best ways. Often this brings out their potential, as well as surprising options you might not have even considered.

9. Be Firm and Fair

Where different options are presented to you, be as objective as you can in accepting them or not. The outcome is the prize and by letting go of some of your own 'hows' you will often come through the change exercise with a positive feeling towards you - and achieve the overall outcomes you desire.

10. Respect Feelings

Above all, there will be a range of emotions expressed as change hits. Everyone is different and where you see that and respect it, you will be valued as a manager more than ever before.

It is possible to drive change and still hold the energy of your people. When they see you as on their side as you can be, they will respect you and provide the opportunity to move forward - after change - successfully.

Martin Haworth is an experienced UK-based coach and trainer with TNM Coaching, working worldwide with enlightened organizations who see the light in leadership and management development.