In an interesting set of tweets the Chief Constable of PSNI recently responded to concerns from officers about work pressures and the apparently unstoppable growth in police responsibilities by suggesting “Dry your eyes, do the job or move on!".
Hardly straight from the manual on managing change as he later conceded by issuing an apology. And equally interesting that this should co-incide with a study from Ohio State University that reported the “trajectory” of people’s jobs has an impact on their health – for example, those who started with high job satisfaction that deteriorated had more serious health problems in later life than those whose job satisfaction started low and then improved.
Change is nothing new – I have seen plenty in four decades in the workplace. And there seems little doubt that the pace of change will continue to accelerate: financial pressures, growing demands and expectations from citizens, the immediacy and reach of new technology (“the internet of things”) are just a few of the drivers. But the test for all employers is how they manage change on behalf of their staff. Most of us find change unsettling and potentially threatening even if it ultimately turns out ok. Just having it thrown at us and being told to get on with it or get out potentially adds hugely to stress and uncertainty and prejudices a good outcome.
So “management” absolutely has to face up to the fact that change can be tough for people and handling it effectively is a key obligation to staff. Some of us might like the brave new world if we understand what it looks like, why and how it is happening and how our welfare and health are being protected. But it won’t be the same for all of us.
Here at Mightify we are passionate about people as individuals. We believe that while management has its responsibilities, we also owe it to ourselves to spend some time understanding our own goals and ambitions and how realistically they can still be met in the post change organisation.
It may be that they can be, perhaps by a new approach or a different role. Or it may be that the “new” organisation is just so different that it can’t meet your goals any more. So it may be time to think about a move. But if it is, one thing is for certain. That move should be one that is driven by your understanding of what goals you have and where you might achieve them. It should be an exciting part of a dignified transition that recognises the service you have given and the great qualities you still have.
The very last thing it should be is an uncaring “shut up or ship out”.