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Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Seven Tips for Modeling Positive Change Adaptation Behaviors

By Kellie Conn, SPHR  

We’re all familiar with the adage “fake it ’til you make it,” right? Sometimes we want to pull our hair out or hide behind a closed office door when change is happening – especially change that we don’t necessarily agree with. As a valued team member, modeling what easy adaptation to change looks like (even if we don’t particularly feel that way at the moment) can help us ease into a new perspective on the change. As a manager or leader, modeling positive behaviors for team members may help them cope more effectively with whatever the new “thing” is that’s potentially causing the disruption. Let’s look at what some of those behaviors look like – and their opposite behaviors that we want to avoid:

Organizational leaders who demonstrate strong change agility skills are more likely to:

  • See problems in a positive light – they try to find the opportunities inside the change to make things better, rather than seeing them as problems, distractions or annoyances that are disrupting the flow.
  • Ask “Why” and “What if” questions, such as “Why have we always done things like this?” and “What if we rearranged the system like this …?” Flexible managers are always looking to incorporate continuous improvement into their departmental operations – so change is a constant and a given.
  • Anticipate needs – look ahead and imagine oncoming scenarios to be prepared (not just responding to each fire as it happens).
  • Realize that mistakes are part of taking risks and long-term success. We can encourage our staff not to fear making mistakes.
  • Pursue proactive professional development. Training and development should not be a reactive solution but a proactive, anticipatory part of preparation for the future.
  • Stay calm and focused during periods of upheaval. I’m sure we’ve all witnessed that supervisor or employee who is usually in some sort of frenzy, running around like a chicken with its head cut off. His answer to your “How are you?” is almost always “Busy.” Not very conducive to communication, is it? An effective leader – especially when dealing with implementing something new – stays calm and focused during times of change. She is a consistently good listener and keeps her eye on the goal of the change while staying aware of and addressing staff concerns.
  • Seek out and facilitate proactive communication around change – before, during and after (not just during!). This is a big part of helping staff stay calm and feel connected during a potentially stressful time.

You may not be feeling it, but you can act as though you do. Be positive, look for the opportunities, anticipate concerns, work with mistakes, proactively communicate and, for heaven’s sake, stay calm.

This article is from an excerpt of Kellie’s recent webinar on building change agility in managers. Watch her full webinar: Better, Faster, Stronger – Building Skills for Effective Change Adaptation. 

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