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Dealing with Change Positively

7th December 2016

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind

of fear – is a fear of the unknown.” (H.P. Lovecraft)

Many of us look forward to changes at work and we may even talk with our colleagues about how things should be different, yet when things do change we are often terrified and feel uncomfortable. Change is inevitable and necessary these days in order for organisations to survive and thrive.

Sometimes change can be imposed on us and with that may come changes to our immediate boss, team, work priorities and even changes to our role. So we must learn to overcome fear and embrace the changes ahead.

Here are 5 Tips for overcoming your fear of change at work:

  1. Acknowledge the change

The most important thing to do when change is happening in the workplace is to acknowledge it. Recognising and accepting change is one of the essential first steps towards managing it.

  1. Face your fears

When you fear change, take some time out for yourself. Writing down these fears in an objective form can stop you dwelling on them. Go through each fear and write down what you would do if that fear became a reality. Knowing you have a back-up plan can really help to defuse your emotional anxiety.

  1. Confront your feelings

Face your feelings about fear and the transition you are going through, especially when the change is imposed and beyond your control. Change could mean that you have to cope with a loss of co-workers, team, and a project that you really care about.

You don’t have to act as a victim, even when you are not in control. The best thing to do is to accept your feelings and then reach out to close colleagues, partner, loved ones and talk to them about what you are feeling.

  1. Turn fearful thoughts to positive ones

Fear can come from creating negative thoughts and scenarios in your head about what the future holds. How you are describing the change to yourself? What do you see to be the negative aspects of the change? What impact it has on you and your life?

The moment you become fearful and have negative thoughts, stop them in their tracks and turn them into something positive.

Ask yourself: In the past when I handled a change well what did I do? How did I cope? What actions did I take that really worked for me? How did I deal with the change in my communication with others? How did I manage my stress? Which personal attributes did I use to turn things into positive? Was I patient? Rational? etc.

  1. Be open and flexible

Instead of hiding from your fear and creating defenses to keep it away from you, embrace it. Be open and flexible to taking on new challenges and tasks. Approach change with an open attitude of learning.

Even if you don’t like something new, if you are flexible, people will want to work with you, and there is a greater chance of change. If you “rage against the machine”, no one is going to rush in to support you.