Every organization is facing persistent change.
And every leader is charged with leading their people through the era of permanent adjustment.
People follow their leaders, and the way leaders respond to change has a strong impact on the people they lead through change. Therefore we need to do everything to help leaders manage their own emotion, cognition, behavior, and communication in a changing environment.
How are your managers experiencing change in the way they Feel. Think. Act. and Talk? Do they agree with your change journey? Are they able to influence others towards change? If not, why not?
Armed with an understanding of how the brain responds to change, your managers may be able to circumvent their innate reflexes.
Here are 4 ways our brains resist change and 4 behaviors to help them embrace change more readily.
- Feel. Any change triggers a threat response as our brains like certainty. Very quickly our amygdala prepares our body for flight, fight, or freeze; contracting our muscles, quickening our heart beat, and raising cortisol levels. Physiologically we are diverting resources away from our ‘thinking brain’ allowing emotions to flood in as evidenced by a pessimistic view, actively resisting information, or being frozen in denial. What one action can your leaders take? Simply, acknowledge the emotions they feel.
- Think. The hippocampus plays important roles in the consolidation of information (learning new information and recalling memories from past experiences) and when stressed by change, loses power. The power to learn. Since change involves thinking and learning, such as; learning a new process, absorbing new skills, or new behaviors, that learning slows down to a crawl. What one action can your leaders take? Practice mindfulness and still their thoughts.
- Act. The actions and behaviors we perform habitually at work, with help from the basal ganglia, pull a lot of energy towards adapting to new expectations. This can drain our energy and easily lead us towards going back to doing what we have always done. No wonder change struggles to sustain. What one action can your leaders take? Define new habits and then practice them consistently.
- Talk. Environmental factors influence our language processing, precisely when leaders are required to tell a compelling change story. What one action can your leaders take? Craft and redraft you change story into an influential “I have a Dream” message.
Leaders can take action to become better change agents when they can manage the way they Feel. Think. Act. and Talk. In our Leading Change Workshop, we help by providing an experiential opportunity to create powerful next steps that can be implemented immediately.
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