Managing Emotional States in Times of Change


If you are tasked with managing a change, it means you are the builder of the future, even if you aren’t its architect. Managing the emotional state of yourself, your team and your leaders is the “art” of change management. As a leader of a change in your organization, there are really three constituents you need to focus on to enable the transformation you’re in charge of:

1. Build change capacity in yourself. Change is stressful at all levels of the organization and you need to build “muscle” to navigate whatever will be coming at you. That means taking the time to take care of your body, mind and spirit. For your body, eat right, exercise get enough sleep…you know what you need or should be doing here. For your mind; read, learn, stretch your intellect into new areas and most importantly listen. You don’t need all the answers though you should always be on the hunt for answers to the tough problems on your plate. Your secret weapon is the people you work with everyday…they, being at the forefront of the change, will be your most valuable resource for dealing with the details. Finally, take time out for your spiritual grow through reflection, journaling, meditation, community activities, whatever it is. These are also great avenues to reduce stress, reboot your energy and build resilience for the future.

2. Build resilience in your teams. The things I’ve just described apply to your teams as well. They will be under there own levels of stress, talk to them and give them some options for relieving that stress and let them know you have their backs. Bring in some mindfulness or meditation programs for them, have walking meetings, tell them what is going on and why…over and over again. Remember, in all likelihood they have not been on the same change curve as you and will be a step or two behind. You’ll need to align them to the strategic vision, help them understand the tactical delivery options and encourage them to join you on the mind, body, spirit path that you are traveling.

3. Build confidence in your leadership. Maybe you sign the checks or maybe you don’t. Whomever is signing your check needs confidence that your proposed approach is sound and destined to succeed. They’ll need to be reminded of the critical role they play in seeing this thing through; providing resources, approving budgets, stick handling issues, communicating with customers, board members or shareholders. Provide them regular briefings on progress, hold them accountable (where it makes sense) to actively and visibly support the initiative.