Why Dealing With Change at Work Is So Difficult

Change is an inevitable part of life. In fact, if you really had to zoom in on your experiences – you will find that most great things in your life happened after a huge change. What many may call “stepping out of your comfort zone.” Yet despite the positives that can come out of change; many still assume the predisposition that change is scary. One such area in which this is prevalent is: dealing with change at work or dealing with organizational change. The topic was generally discussed in the post: Embracing change in the workplace; however this article will be used to discuss where the fear and difficulty stems from during changes at work.

Why Dealing With Change at Work Is So Difficult

Here are a few reasons why dealing with change at work is so difficult; and how to overcome them:

It Threatens One’s Identity

Imagine this; you are some big deal senior manager at your firm. You have followed the right career advancement strategies to get you to the top. Everyone respects you because of what you know and the things that you have accomplished. You know your business like the back of your hand. Then suddenly overnight; the heads of your company indicate that there is going to be a massive change in organizational structure. Automatically, thoughts rush into your head: What are these new changes? What does it mean for my current position? Will I have to relearn everything again? Will I have someone new to report to?

This type of mindset affects a lot of people when they have been a part of an organization for a long time and it is a natural response. When someone questions your identity and what you stand for; it can often leave you in a state of anxiety over the uncertain.

How To deal with It?

Bohoo! life as you know it is changing. Guess what? That’s a normal part of life. In fact if you consistently remain stagnant your brain will shrink into a dried fruit and you will collapse from a lack of excitement. Call that exaggeration for emphasis. The key to dealing with the above scenario is to change your perspective. This is the time to step up and prove to everyone the reason you were the big shot in the first place.

With the way the future is changing everyday – ones success is defined by their ability to unlearn something as fast as they learn something. Come to terms with the fact that things will always be changing; but your ability to adapt will always stay constant. Can you see the difference? Things around you are changing and are external while how you respond to these changes is internal (the only thing you can control). To sum up; use these new changes in your organization to re-invent yourself – who knows? Maybe there is a new promotion lurking around the corner. Or maybe there is another opportunity that you can incorporate from your career growth plan.

Also Read: Change Your Mindset To Fit Your Company’s Work Culture Definition>>
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It Has An Element Of The Unknown

A fundamental reason why dealing with change at work is so difficult for many is because it encompasses the unknown. For some personality types this may be appealing; however for the more conservative this can lead to a downward spiral.

How To Deal With This?

Again it boils down to practicing perspective taking exercises to make you more successful. The unknown can bring both good and bad; so why then do we choose to look only at the possibility of the bad. We need to change our perspective and expect the best case scenario. If you have the innate fear of not liking the new; then make it your duty to understand more about the upcoming changes. Ask more questions and get involved. Your line manager and HR can help ease your concerns by reassuring you of the positives that will come with the new changes. Also take comfort in what is remaining the same and the possibility of what you don’t like going away.

Fear of the unknown may also stem from biases from past experiences. Your intuition may be surpassing reason based on changes that didn’t go well for you in the past. Always question the way you feel and your intuition. Is your assumptions based on enough past experiences to be trusted? Read: Intuition vs fear: How To Overcome Your Fears and Intuition Vs Logic: What’s The Difference? to learn more.

Dealing With Change At Work Is Difficult – Because It Questions That Which We Already Know

This is a big one; especially for more senior individuals. The people that have seen a company grow before their eyes. The ones that have seen successes and failure and have the preconception that they can predict the failure or success of any new endeavor. For these individuals; dealing with change at work is difficult because it opposes the beliefs that have been hardwired in them; often in the form of tacit knowledge and experience they have gained. Also new changes tend to make people feel; for a lack of a better word “outdated.”

How to deal With It?

If you are finding it hard to adjust to dealing with change at work because of this very reason; take a step back. Realize that as much as you understand the company you work in; the world as you know it is changing. It is changing at such a rapid rate that people are coining the term “future shock” characterized by the feeling of waking up in an unknown future.

To accommodate these future changes; companies need to change at a rapid rate – which means incorporating new processes, technology and individuals. Therefore instead of fighting this change; be a change maker by offering your skills and experiences. In order for organizations to survive they need a combination of new and old. Realize that old ideas don’t necessarily have to be thrown out but can also be improved upon.

To overcome the issue of feeling like your skills are getting outdated; there are numerous things that you can do to up-skill yourself:

At the end of the day realize that there is a difference between body of knowledge and skill-set. The skills you possess will always make you a valuable asset; irrespective of your specialized knowledge. For e.g. you may not be able to program software; however your systems thinking mindset may make you invaluable when it comes to mapping out how things should work. Find your strong points and find where you can fit it in.

If you enjoyed this post and want to further improve in all areas of your life; Read: Applying A Growth Mindset To Achieve Success

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