Managing the change process in an organization can be difficult for all individuals’ involved included management as well as the employees. A manager’s role during the process is to be positive, honest, and supportive by providing as much information as possible to the employees involved in the change. Most importantly the manager should lead by example and the employees will follow. An individual’s role during the change process is to keep an open mind and embrace change and look at it an opportunity not instead of a negative threat.
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Various Roles of Managers and Individuals
The role of a manager during the change process is to (1) lead by example, (2) treat your employees with respect, (3) provide honest answers to their questions, (4) pay attention to how people are reacting to the change, and be prepared to react and reassure the employee of any uncertainties. An individual’s role in the change process is to keep an open mind, do not resist the change, but it embrace change and do not fear the unknown or be afraid that you may not have a job when the process is complete.
Two Types of Change Agents
Outside agents usually are outsourced, they are individuals who do not work for the company and brought in to assist with the change process as an objective opinion. However, these individuals do not have the knowledge of the company and their values and how the employees may perceive the company as it is today. An outside agent will leave once the change process is complete, therefore they have no personal stake in whether the process is successful or if the employees are happy and satisfied. An internal agent is an individual that currently works for the organization and they have a personal stake in the outcome of the change process. An internal agent is aware of the current values and beliefs of the company and they are more sensitive to the employee’s morale and fears of the unknown during a change process. This agent will most likely remain with the company after the process is complete and will be more cautious about the thoughts and ideas they provide during the process.
Managers Role in Combating Resistance to Change
As a manager one takes on the responsibility to put their employees at ease. Using Lewins Change Management model which has three stages of change can be used to overcome resistance to change. The first step is called the unfreeze stage which prepares the company and its employees to embrace as necessary which consists of breaking down the existing policies and procedures in place (“Lewin’s Change Management Model”). The organization must be forced to realize that the company cannot live in the past, they must forget about the way they used to do things and accept the new ideas and procedures in place. The second stage is called the “change” stage. This stage is where employees begin to try to accept the changes and erase some of their previous doubts. They begin to look for new ways to do things and accept the new policies and procedures (“Lewin’s Change Management Model”). Employees need to know how the change can be a positive endeavor instead of thinking negatively about the idea of change in itself. Employees will need time to adjust to the new processes but with communication and the knowledge the process can be implemented smoothly. The third stage is “refreeze”, this stage takes place when the company can see that the changes are beginning to stick and people have adjusted to the new way of working. Then the company can refreeze. The signs that show when this can be done are having a stable organizational chart, and job descriptions are clearly defined, employees are properly trained (“Lewin’s Change Management Model”). The changes need to remain consistent and this will give employees a sense of stability and they will feel empowered and positive towards the new ideas and procedures in place.
The role of a manager during the change process is very important, as their role can affect how the individual employees react to the change. If the manager is positive and shows the employees that they are accepting the change well, then the employees will feel as if they are able to do so as well. The manager must treat the employees with respect and honest, advise the employees to continue to concentrate on customer service and make sure they are properly trained. An individual should not view the change as a threat, but embrace the change as an opportunity. The individual role is to keep an open mind and ask questions to make sure that they understand the process; this can ease the resistance to change as some of the uncertainties will be cleared up. An informed well prepared employee is likely to be resistant to the new policies and procedures that the change process may bring to the company.
MindTools. (n.d.). Retrieved from http:///www.mindtools.com/pages/article Palmer, Ian. Dunford, R., & Akin, G. (2006). Managing Organizational Change. Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection