One of the least mentioned effects of change
relates to how it affects the manager
leading that change, and his or her ability
to undertake the leadership role. We have
already talked about the effects of change
on the individual employee, and of course
managers are subject to the same reactions,
resistances and strains. Some types of
change, such as restructuring, or downsizing
can put considerable strain on the leaders
of an organization.
Stress & More Stress
One primary concern
regarding change is the stress it imposes on
those undergoing the change. Managers,
because they have obligations to their
staff, not only have to deal with change as
employees but also need to carry some of the
concerns of their staffs. In the case of
downsizing, the stress levels can be
extremely high, because the manager is
charged with conveying very upsetting
Stress is part of the
job, but in times of change, it is critical
that you recognize that it may cause you to
act in ways that are less effective than
usual. As with anything connected with
change, the major concern is not short term
but long term. If your stress levels result
in marked loss of effectiveness, the risk is
that a vicious cycle will be set up, where
ineffective leadership results in creating
more long term problems, which increases
your stress, which reduces your
effectiveness even more.
A Common Response
A common response to
unpleasant change is to ignore the
situation. Avoidance can take many forms.
Most commonly, the avoiding manager plays
only a minimal role in moving the
organization through the swamp. After
announcing the change and doing the minimum
required, the manager "hides" from the
change, through delegation, or attending to
other work. This tactic involves treating
things as "business as usual".
The outcomes of this
tactic can be devastating. By avoiding
situations, the manager abdicates any
leadership role, when staff needs it most,
during and after significant change. In
addition, the avoidance results in the
manager becoming out of touch with the
people and realities of the organization.
While avoidance serves a
need for the manager in the short run, it
destroys the manager's credibility, and
results in poor decisions. The long term
consequence of such action is that the
organization tends to deteriorate in terms
of morale, effectiveness and productivity.
Sometimes this deterioration is
Another Ineffective Tactic
Sometimes the manager
deals with change by denying its impact.
Usually, the denying manager takes a very
logical approach to change. Decisions get
made, systems are put in place, or new
procedures are developed. Unfortunately,
this "logical" approach denies the impact of
change on the people in the organization.
The denying manager tends
to refuse to understand "what the big deal
is", and shows little empathy with employees
in the organization.
As with avoidance the
denying tactic tends to drop the manager's
credibility and destroy any personal loyalty
on the part of employees.
Managers are put
under stress by change, and that stress,
if mishandled can result in loss of
managerial effectiveness. Managers need
to be alert to the signs of stress upon
A common management
tactic is to avoid involvement in change
when that involvement is unpleasant. The
affects of this withdrawal can be lethal
to the organization and to the manager.
Another common tactic
is denial of the effects of change.
Managers who do this tend to under-
estimate the impact of the change, and
demonstrate an inability to respond to
employees' emotional reactions to
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