Thought for the Week: Change is hard to like

"There is no way to make people like change. You can only make them feel less threatened by it." Frederick Hayes

Change is threatening—there is no way around it. Even in an entirely dysfunctional situation there will be elements of the current state that are difficult to let go. The only thing people like less than the current situation is the prospect of an unknown one.

This is the key to reducing stress in change. What threatens most people is not only the unknown, but the rumors and speculations of what might be. The least threatened followers are the ones who are informed. It is a greater threat to not know what is happening than it is to be aware of what is happening even if the impact is potentially negative.

Leaders can reduce the stress of their employees by being honest and truthful with no surprises While as a leader you may be excited about the potential outcome of an ongoing or impending change, trying to make employees happy about it is a fool's errand. Your focus should be on reducing fear and discomfort, not creating joy. Joy will come from the recognition and experience of positive outcomes. Less fear and less stress will allow followers to become more engaged. Less fear and less stress comes from more open, frequent and honest communication.

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