If you are in a leadership role --and that means anyone in the organization who has the ability to influence others-- then you will have the opportunity to make a real difference during times of change.
Here are three of the roles you may play.
Catalyst - Periods of organizational change may seem crazy at times, like a runaway wagon headed for a cliff. Some may perceive the change this way because they are feeling like leaves caught in a flood, like it's totally outside their control. You can help in this regard by being a catalyst and teaching it to others.
Being a catalyst for change means recognizing that You are a part of it, not outside of it. Not a helpless victim of it.
When you are a catalyst for change, you take responsibility of it, for some part of it. You hold yourself accountable for the part, however small, you can play in making it happen.
The catalyst for change says "If it is to be, it is up to me." And then asks, How can I help make this change successful?
Communicator - Periods of organizational change can seem chaotic, confusing, and uncertain. When people feel "in the dark," their anxiety may increase. The "rumor mill" can go into over-drive as people participate in passing around the bits and pieces they are picking up through the grapevine.
The problem with such informal back-channel communicating is that it can cause misunderstandings of the situation, magnifying tiny details into imagined catastrophes, and causing a whole lot of unnecessary misinterpretation of what is happening.
Being a communicator for change means being accessible, keeping your door open. It means being as transparent as possible. It means over-communicating as needed so that your teams can stay focused on what matters most (i.e., serving customers and accomplishing results) during the waves of change.
Trust depends upon being an open communicator during change!
Coach - Organizational changes often feel very uncomfortable because they sweep away what was familiar (the Old Way) and usher in the strange and unfamiliar (the New Way). The Old Way meant competence and confidence. Not so with the New Way. It's not unusual for organizational change to bring with it new tasks, new roles, and new ways to work.
Being a coach for change therefore becomes a critical leadership role! Coaches help their teams through change by building skills and confidence.
Though organizational change is often "change for the better," it can also seem scary to employees who feel threatened by it.
Being a coach can help establish the sense of safety and self-assurance that comes from carefully rebuilding competence.
Terrence Seamon, author of Lead the Way, is a champion for change. Follow him on twitter @tseamon.
This post will be expanded upon in a free webinar coming up soon: Leading Teams through Change on June 22, sponsored by Rutgers Executive and Professional Education