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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Stressed Out With Change?

According to a recent poll conducted by Right Management, 71% of senior executives and human resource professionals said their jobs are more stressful amid the current demanding and changing business environment. No big surprise, really… who isn’t feeling like this lately?

One of the main triggers of stress is understanding what you can and can’t control. Stress can be a common cause of negativity, driven by a lack of understanding for the business rationale behind change initiatives, the role each employee plays in making the change work, as well as an inability to adapt quickly to changes in the environment. Focusing on the factors you can influence and control helps to develop a more positive and productive response to change.

We’ve conducted research in this area and found that nearly one in three employees don’t adapt well, if at all, to changes at work. More than 9 in 10 employees are disengaged when organizations don’t implement change well. For employees who said leadership managed change effectively, only 40% were disengaged. Improving change effectiveness positively impacts performance. Our studies also identified the top global drivers of effective change management. The number one driver: senior leaders implement effective change. However, our results revealed that less than one in two employees work in organizations where senior leaders are perceived to implement change effectively. And only one in three people believe that the reasons for decisions are fully explained.

What can workers do – at all levels of the organization – to reduce stress and cope more effectively with change? Take a look at the three main pillars that provide the foundation for our ability to adapt to change:

-- Attitude. A feeling or emotion toward something that impacts what we think, feel and do. Attitude is impacted by our openness to change, our ability to embrace it, adapt to it and persevere through change.

-- Self-management. Being able to manage your own emotions and behaviors to increase personal resilience in a range of situations. This is also a pillar in developing strong emotional intelligence. Your ability to control your emotions and the self-confidence that comes as you successfully navigate interactions all contribute to a strong sense of self-management, particularly important during times of change.

-- Relationship management. The ability or willingness to carry out interpersonal interactions in a way that increases the likelihood of beneficial outcomes. Your skill at building relationships, combined with influence, provides you with the ability to build agreement and affect positive change.

In the words of John Wooden: “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

Are you stressing over what you can’t control?

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