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Coping With Change

coping-with-change

One of the main pressures on the leadership development process is change. Our organisations are changing like never before and at all levels we’re being forced to accept that change is not just good for us, it’s essential – for sustainability, functionality, efficiency and profitability.

Coping with change has therefore evolved to become a core skill for leaders, managers and employees at all levels.

So how well are you coping with change in a fast-paced, ever-changing organisational world?

Since the L.E.A.D. Survey began, we’ve been asking how well people at all levels cope with change:

  • Employees believe they personally cope with change better than their leaders and managers believe their employees do – 93% very or quite well compared to 79% of leaders and 76% of managers. Even so, the proportion of employees believing they cope Very Well with change is steady at a little over a quarter (28%), down from 35% a decade ago.
  • On the other hand, leaders and managers believe they personally cope with change better than their employees believe their leaders and managers do – 91% of leaders and 89% of managers compared to 81% of employees. Again, the extent to which leaders and managers feel they cope Very Well has settled at around a third for leaders (37%) and a quarter for managers (24%) – both down around 10 points over the past decade.

It would seem that at all levels we’re comfortable with change and do not fear it. Over the long-term our ability to adapt has held us in good stead and enabled organisations and their employees to address significant global, national and local challenges.

However, our confidence in coping with change appears to have waned somewhat, presenting leaders and managers with an opportunity to help their people become more resilient.

Employees coping with change

Employees coping with change
(Employee view)
2000
%
2005/06
%
2009/10
%
2013
%
2014
%
2016
%
Very well 36 35 29 29 27 28
Quite well 58 57 66 65 67 65
Not very well 3 6 4 4 4 5
Not at all well 1
Not sure 2 2 1 2 2 2

 

Employees coping with change 
(Manager view)

2000
%
2005/06
%
2009/10
%
2013
%
2014
%
2016
%
Very well 7 10 9 9 7 8
Quite well 68 70 70 66 69 69
Not very well 21 19 18 22 20 20
Not at all well 1 1 2 3 2 2
Not sure 1 1 1 1 1

 

Employees coping with change 
(Leader view)

2000
%
2005/06
%
2009/10
%
2013
%
2014
%
2016
%
Very well 20 14 13 12 13 17
Quite well 70 65 76 67 69 62
Not very well 8 18 10 18 16 18
Not at all well 1 1 3 1 1
Not sure 1 1 1 1 1

Q. Change affects people at different levels in organisations in different ways. When it comes to dealing with the magnitude and pace of change affecting your organisation, how well would you say you personally (your staff) are coping with change?

What do leaders and managers need to be doing?

  • Provide appropriate support to enable change to be undertaken – very often change is implemented and then we move onto other more pressing matters, forgetting that ongoing support for change and feedback is vital to ensure the change continues to work as planned.
  • Continue to skill the workforce to embrace and deal with change – equip them with tools and techniques to successfully plan, lead and embed change. Celebrate successful change and learn from less
    successful change initiatives.
  • Involve people early and deeply in change – as drivers of change rather than victims of change – the earlier and more deeply we involve our people in change, the greater their commitment to planning and implementing the change to deliver success. They begin to own the change and support it rather than being victims or spectators of the change process.
  • Communicate widely, regularly and consistently about change that is taking place – communication underpins our leadership competencies and therefore our ability to successfully lead change.  Communication provides the opportunity to seek input, gain commitment and buy-in and work collaboratively to make the change a reality.

Leaders and managers coping with change

Q. How well would you say you (your leaders and senior managers) are coping with change?

Leaders and managers coping with change
(Leader view)
2000
%
2005/06
%
2009/10
%
2013
%
2014
%
2016
%
Very well 47 25 39 34 41 37
Quite well 49 54 57 59 52 54
Not very well 3 16 3 7 6 10
Not at all well 1 4
Not sure 2 1

 

Leaders and managers coping with change
(Manager view)
2000
%
2005/06
%
2009/10
%
2013
%
2014
%
2016
%
Very well 31 32 30 26 27 24
Quite well 62 62 65 69 68 65
Not very well 6 6 5 5 5 10
Not at all well 1
Not sure 1

 

Leaders and managers coping with change
(Employee view)
2005/06
%
2009/10
%
2013
%
2014
%
2016
%
Very well 23 21 17 15 18
Quite well 56 61 62 63 63
Not very well 14 13 15 16 14
Not at all well 2 3 2 2 2
Not sure 4 2 4 3 3