7 essentials for guiding employees through change

Adapting to new methods, managers and hierarchies—or to the loss of beloved colleagues—can be traumatic. Here’s help in navigating those new waters, starting with the key factor: empathy.

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As a business speaker, I talk to groups a great deal about the issues surrounding change.

The topic is always front and center—from advancements in technology and the obsolescence of older business approaches to the more personal issue of how best to absorb and respond to uninvited change.

It helps me to be reminded regularly of how personal this issue is, and those reminders often come during post-speech one-on-ones as people share with me their own change issues.

We all are vulnerable. It is easy to depersonalize change or to view it as an abstract concept easily dispatched by following a list of suggestions, but life is not that easy.

Fresh from a round of recent engagements, I pass along these reminders of how personal change is and how poorly we leaders often perform in guiding our people through the fog.

Anecdotes from people living through change:

The comments above are from people in very different situations, yet they all have one thing in common—their vulnerability and feelings of helplessness in the face of uninvited and unanticipated change. The leaders and managers of the respective firms have exacerbated the situations by failing to offer context, guidance and even the least expensive option, empathy.

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