There is a lot of talk in leadership literature about initiative and accountability. But this does not mean you take on each and every problem that bothers you in the workplace. You have to prioritize and take on the vital few challenges. And, in every case, assess your co-workers’ readiness for your messages.
If your co-workers are not ready for your message, then you have an uphill battle. This does not mean you don’t take on the challenge, all it means is that if your audience is not ready, you have your work cut out for you.
Your co-workers may want to change, but may not be ready for change. Your first task is to get them to a state of readiness. This includes creating a value case, showing what’s in it for them, giving them a reason to change now, and being the cheerleader, not the critic.
Once your co-workers are ready for change, then you can go to work on executing to your plan.
A light breeze is welcome on a hot day. A wind can raise concern at low speed and be positively disruptive and high speeds. The natural tendency is to expose oneself to a light breeze but protect against high speed winds.
In the workplace, abrupt change can be disruptive. It is like an unexpected storm that arrives without warning. There is no shortage of literature on change management, but somehow those in leadership situations don’t seem to remember the lessons or know how to apply it. He or she causes more pain than necessary in the effort to drive change. But you are a leader as well, what will you do?
One option is to hunker down, wait till the storm subsides. This is not a bad strategy, but it may paint you as defensive and conservative. A second option is to voice your displeasure at how the change is being handled. With tensions running high, and nerves on edge, your tirade is not going to win you a lot of friends.
The key to getting thru winds of change at work is be on top of your role and responsibilities. It is not necessary to strive for perfection, but be prepared to explain what the issues are and how you plan to address them. There will be a lot of things outside your control, the dependencies can cause you frustration, but the key is not to look helpless or try to look perfect.
At the end of the day you can do only so much and strategically, for now, you might be in a losing position. Emphasis on for now. It is all impermanent, and you have to prepare and be ready for when the tide turns.