It’s so crucial in today’s job market to how to cope with change at work. No matter where you work, or in what role, you are always going to encounter change. Change can come in so many forms, though. Your company could get bigger, so now there’s a whole new load of processes and responsibilities you need to manage. Your company could also get smaller, shrinking that divide between yourself and your employers.
Either way, learning how to handle change is pivotal to survive in today’s corporate culture. Your responsibilities, your role, your coworkers and your supervisors are all likely to change – they might even change before this sentence is through.
Let’s start off by understanding the many different ways we might encounter change in the workplace:
- A change in role – where what we do changes
- A change in scenery – where the place we work changes
- A change in management – where our bosses change
- A change in collaboration – where our coworkers change
There are so many ways that we can witness change in the workplace, it is definitely going to happen at some point.
Can I See Change Coming?
Most folks might want to know the “warning” signs for change, so that they can be better prepared to learn how to cope with change at work. There are definitely some telltale signs that you need to stay on the lookout for, because they can be positive indicators that change is on the way.
Here’s a quick checklist to rate your “change-o-meter” at work:
- Have you recently been given a new task that one of your coworkers used to do?
- Are your supervisors e-mails becoming few and far between? Are they always out at working lunches?
- Is a new app/online tool being introduced to help “improve efficiency”?
Have any of these things happened to you at work before? They are smaller warning signs of bigger changes to come. They’re going to happen, though, and trying to stop them is like trying to stop a runaway locomotive. The more important thing we should be focusing on is how do we cope!
How Do I Handle Change?
It’s easier than you think! Learning how to cope with change at work follows three very simple steps:
- Acknowledge It
- Face It
- Understand It
Okay, maybe it sounds overtly simple – but that’s because it has to be memorable. When you acknowledge change in the workplace, you’re speaking it into existence. You can see it, you can see the effect it’s having, and it serves as a great baseline to compare with how you used to do things – with how you might have to do them now. Was your boss let go in order to make way for someone who is better at their job? Acknowledge what went wrong, and why someone new is being brought in.
When you face change, you have the opportunity to approach it and start asking the tougher questions. Learning how to deal with change is all about facing your fears, and being flexible enough to handle whatever comes your way. Did all of your coworkers move on? You’re going to have to face the fact that they’re gone, and learn to work with your new coworkers.
Lastly, once you have the opportunity to acknowledge and face change, you can truly begin to understand it. This is the most important step in the process, and not just because it’s the last. It’s all about the big picture at the end of the day, so when changes happen in the workplace we have to understand why and how we can contribute to that change. When we complete the first two steps, we have the opportunity to truly understand change. This can help reduce stress, anxiety and all of the other scarier symptoms of change.
When your supervisors change something at work, you need to understand that it is perfectly okay to ask questions. In fact, this is your opportunity to ask as many questions as possible! If you’re not clear about something, a major structural change in your organization can really help clear it up – whether it’s asking about who you’re actually working for, or simple wondering where the coffee machine is located.
Learning to cope with change at work is an attitude, because it is always going to happen. When we remain positive in our approach, and surround ourselves with positive people, we truly have the opportunity to benefit.
Change doesn’t have to be scary, in fact it can be exciting. When things change at work, sometimes a new road opens which can introduce us to new challenges, new responsibilities and new opportunities. It’s all about making lemonade with lemons, so get out there and embrace change today!