Patience and change. The two don’t seem to go together and many times we try to push patience to the side when we lead though seasons of change in the name of progress. By the time we introduce change in our organizations leaders have been praying and processing the need for it for weeks, months, or years. We have tossed around every scenario, sought wise counsel, and prayed through every detail and finally moved in the direction that we hope is best for the organization. When your organization hears about the change and experiences the change they are just beginning the process of embracing the change! There is a natural delay between the implementation of change and the reaction to change that demands patience.
Change leads people to question. Change moves people away from their comfort zone. Change often brings struggle into the picture. Change may be needed but it’s rarely welcomed. If this is true about change then leaders have to work hard to connect patience to our desire for forward progress.
If you are leading through a time of change then here are a few principles to remember…
- Listen and Don’t be Defensive / don’t take it personally…people really don’t like change not matter why it’s happening. Let your guard down and listen. People need to be heard and have a voice.
- Be Available / process with people when they come to you. Don’t wait or put it off. Take the time to have conversations with people when they are ready to process the change. Have as many face to face and phone conversations as possible. When people hear you they understand you heart more than when you type on a device.
- Respect Differing Opinions / some people will not agree with the change and leaders have to be prepared. Respect those opinions and love people no matter their position on the change.
- Be Clear and Consistent / make sure you are explaining change with clarity and that your message is consistent. If you can’t explain change with clarity and consistency then you did not fully have a grasp on the change in the first place.
- Embrace Late Processors / some people just take longer to think through the change so make time for them to process even when you may be ready to move on.
- Cast Vision Continually / in times of change people need to hear why you do what you do over and over. Keep casting vision!