The Middle Manager

Surviving & Thriving as a Leader

Organizational Change

If you work for a big business, odds are you’ve been faced with organizational change.  You may even have been part of an organizational change and been directly involved in the process.  In today’s business environment, this type of change can be very stressful for our staff, because it has become so common for business to send work off shore or otherwise downsize the workforce.canstockphoto2010444

This type of change can be an easy transition or it can be chaos, all depending on the leader who is managing the change. Some leaders come in and immediately start making sweeping changes, even before they’ve become familiar with the organization they’ve inherited. It’s like getting a new puppy that has to go mark its territory in every corner. These ‘leaders’ want to quickly make the point that this is their organization, and no matter how effective or efficient the previous leader might have been that’s all out the door simply because it’s a ‘new organization.’ 

This approach results in a huge amount of stress for the staff.  After all, they were all part of that previous organization, and if the processes are now being replaced it’s not much of a leap of imagination to think that they might be next.  I’ve been subjected to this type of reorganization more times than I care to admit, and it’s especially frustrating when the new ‘leader’ has their own pre-defined opinions on how things should be done and – while they may make a show of having an ‘open door’ policy – any concerns or feedback from their management team is dismissed as irrelevant to their vision.

On the other hand, a good leader will take the time to become familiar with the organization they are inheriting. They make no sweeping changes until they have a basic understanding of the impact any changes might have to the bigger picture.  Perhaps they take a page from the process improvement handbook and speak to the staff on the front lines to get their opinion on how effective the organization works.

Taking it slow and having a measured approach offers a pressure relief valve for the team. It will make an organizational transition much smoother with less impact to productivity.

(c) Can Stock Photo

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