Change — Torture or Treasure?

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about change and how difficult it can be. Whether it’s something minor like using a new password, or major like a marriage or divorce, change can affect us deeply, mentally and physically. 

Almost three years ago, we had a major health event take place in our family. The resolution of that event brought about major change in the family and the individuals involved. It was frightening and painful — and we’re still working through it today. But we came through it a stronger family and a bigger one; we gained a beautiful daughter-in-law. 

As we consider change at our workplaces, though not life threatening, they can still rock our world in a major way. Let’s consider some servant leadership behaviors that will help us navigate change and hopefully move the process from torture closer to treasure.

Change takes grit, so you must Demonstrate Courage. Demonstrating courage is vital because as a servant leader, all eyes are on you. People are not helped by a Henny Penny leader who runs around and acts like “the sky is falling.” In times of change, people long for a stable, non-anxious presence. Another time to demonstrate courage is when a decision is made for change of some sort and you may not agree with it. Your responsibility is to support the organization. The time to voice your objections is prior to the decision being made;  once leadership has decided, it’s time to be courageous and get on board. You must show your support for the change to your employees.

Think About Your Thinking takes humility. Why would anyone think humility is involved in change? Here at SLI, we are making a change in our software system, moving from Microsoft to Apple. Some of us have spent 20+ years with Microsoft. We need to ask questions over the simplest things. We all want to change, but it’s not easy. Here is where the humility comes in. For a while, we are going to have to depend on others (humans and YouTube). We have to admit we don’t have all the answers. We are humbled. Thinking about our thinking when we are participating in change will allow us to reflect and be aware of our attitudes and how we are expressing them with others. Are we willing to accept help and advice from co-workers? Are we able to become humble students?

Increase Your Influence is about strategy. You can become an advocate for change. What if you had a personal goal to champion a change initiative going on at work, a club you belong to or even at home? Design a strategy to show people you are interested in their success, that you believe the change will make the group better. As you do this, people will see you as a more sincere and trustworthy person and you will gain influence. When my family had its health crisis, I used a strategy to feed my mind with good positive thoughts every day. For me, it was Bible verses. For you, it might be encouraging quotes. This strategy helped me deal with the changes taking place. 

Change is never easy, but take some servant leadership grit, humility, and strategy and you’ll transform change from torture to treasure.