A question I get asked a lot is “How can I keep staff motivated during a difficult period of change?”
A great question, especially since the pace of change is a constant challenge for managers in organisations. That and the resistance most people display (initially at least) in response to being told they have to do things differently.
The problem with change is that, for the majority it appears out of nowhere; imposed from above and that can leave a bad taste in the mouth. Regardless of how well thought through the need to make adjustments has been, it will not go down well unless the justification is well articulated and people can understand the value in taking a different approach.
This is where the difficult task of keeping people motivated comes in. When we are told we must do something and it doesn’t make sense for us to do so, we feel manipulated. And when we think we are being handled we will push back; and we may do that openly or in a passive-aggressive manner. The result is that our motivation is lost along with our enthusiasm for the task at hand.
So, with that in mind, how can you keep your people motivated in an uncertain environment?
Here are a few ideas to help you:
OPENLY SHARE INFORMATION: you may not know a great deal about what’s driving the change but people will forgive that so long as they believe you’re not hiding anything
BE AUTHENTIC IN YOUR COMMUNICATION: people don’t like being played. If your messages are incongruent they will pick up on that and you will become less credible
CHECK YOUR COMMITTMENT TO CHANGE: It’s easy to be inspired by someone who is passionate about what they are doing. It’s just as easy to be demotivated by someone who isn’t fully engaged with the project
SAY WHAT OTHERS ARE THINKING: Acknowledge the inconvenience caused by having to modify or redo the work. By articulating what others are holding back you’ll enable people to get over it and move on
COMPLEMENT WHAT IS WORKING WELL: There is always good work that can be salvaged regardless of the enormity of the change required. The sooner you recognise that and let people know, the sooner they will buy-in to the new way of working
Applying these suggestions will provide some certainty in a fluid environment.
Several readers are interested in this topic so leave a comment below to let us know how you get on.