How To Prevent Workplace Heartbreak Key #1
Heartbreak Prevention Key #1 -
How To Prevent Heartbreak When Switching Someone To a New Project or Team
The needs of any company, especially a growth company, will always require agile staffing, creative recruiting, and flexibility in employee placement. But that doesn’t mean there has to be shock or hurt as a necessary and unavoidable byproduct. Quite the contrary.
When you, as a manager, assign yourself the role of Emotionally Intelligent work-culture midwife (no matter your gender) you take on the mantel of sensitivity, care, and appropriate timing.
At the same time, when you — the employee — are the recipient of a request to change your loyalty and alignment within the company, there’s no need for you to be passive, no need to go into that change with a stiff upper lip and a quaking heart.
As The Manager
For some people a change in work focus can be a much appreciated relief from a position that has gone on all too long, and for some it can be an opportunity to shine. But when you have to move someone who has been a dedicated, even ardent advocate for their current position, you can work to resolve the “re-org shuffle” in ways that will be deeply appreciated by those potential “victims” of the move:
*** First and foremost, provide as much advance notice as possible. Too many managers wait til the last minute because they are fearful of the negative repercussions and thereby cause the very fallout they are worried about. Whether in one-on-ones or at your team meetings go into detail about the reasons for the changes to come and how you are going to review with each person affected by the change what their future may be like.
*** As I said, “what their future MAY be like.” Never order someone to change positions. Provide options. Each person who cares deeply about their current position needs to know that they have options — even if one of those options is to move to another division of the company. Or they may need to leave the company AND be able to trust that there will be good reviews from you waiting behind.
*** More than anything, your compassionate approach to each person who feels a loss at even the thought of change will matter most. This is where the human connection counts far more than the actual outcome. Most people can become fairly flexible when they know they are cared about and that their feelings are recognized and held with caring regard. This is a time to be as generous as possible with your sincere praise for your team members’ skills, attitude, loyalty, collaboration, and anything else that’s relevant. As someone quoted in response to my original post on this topic, "When managers speak to me, I get the feeling that they are important. When leaders speak to me, I get the feeling that I am important."
As The Employee
You may be in the habit of feeling that the company holds all the power and that your positive future depends on deep commitment to your workplace no matter what. Or perhaps you are more mercenary than loyal employee, valuing your paycheck as the impetus to show up every day and work hard to assure your job is secure. Or you are in danger of heartbreak when changes are required because you deeply care about what you do and the company you work for and you give your all; you often work late hours, voluntarily mentor employees who can benefit from your expertise, and always go beyond the bounds of your job description. If you fall into the first two groups, changes won’t matter that much. But if you are in the third camp, PLEASE be clear that you don’t have to be powerless when reorganization invades your position at work.
*** At the first sign that something is about to change, immediately get with your boss/manager and ask for the specifics. If the answer you receive is vague, noncommital, or even deflects your attention back to your work with something like, “If there were something to report I’d tell you” don’t settle for it. Insist that you be told if there is anything brewing—even in just behind the scenes stages---that will effect you and your work. Make it known you are concerned for your future with the company.
*** Then explain in detail what you are concerned about: perhaps it’s the specific focus of your work, relocation of your team, downsizing, or bringing in new/lessor talent to fill head count. Anything that you care about that could disempower you, infringe on your work, or leave you with serious heartbreak needs to be put on the table as soon as possible. Make your concerns and needs known so that your manager has to factor you in to his/her thinking about any changes coming up.
*** Delineate all the variables that must be addressed for you to stay with the company---with your head held high, your bank account rosier than before, AND your loyalty to the company cemented and secured for at least the next two years. Then pay very close attention, with as little emotional involvement as possible, so you get the clearest perspective, and continually evaluate what the response is to all that you’ve laid out. Only then will you be able to be self-protective. And only then will you be able to prepare to make thoroughly-evaluated decisions about your future, no matter what happens within your department and/or the company.
What can you add to these keys to avoiding heartbreak when a reorg is coming down the road?
(Photo: Strong by Aurora Demasi/Flickr) . . .
Judith Sherven, PhD and her husband Jim Sniechowski, PhD have developed a penetrating perspective on people’s resistance to success, which they call The Fear of Being Fabulous (tm). Recognizing the power of unconscious programming to always outweigh conscious desires, they assert that no one is ever failing — they are always succeeding. The question is, at what? To learn about how this played out in the life of Whitney Houston for example, and how it may be playing out in your own life, check out their 6th book: What Really Killed Whitney Houston.
Currently consultants on retainer to LinkedIn providing transformational executive coaching, leadership training and consulting as well as working with other corporate and private clients around the world, they continually prove that when unconscious beliefs are brought to the surface, the barriers to greater success and leadership presence begin to fade away. You can learn about their core program “Overcoming the Fear of Being Fabulous.”
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