How can you support even the most reluctant members of staff through a period of change?
1. Share your vision
Relationship is key, they need to know you’re for them and that they’re valued as a person. When they share the vision of what we’re doing then they will be more open to changing elements of their role because the value for them comes from achieving the vision rather than in having a certain role or responsibility.
2. Come alongside others
Come alongside – see what they need and where you can help with that need before imposing any demands or changes. Be respectful as well as ambitious for them. Help coach them through concerns around change whilst gently moving them forwards. Do WITH people and not TO them.
3. Focus on emotions not the event
Supporting an individual through change is as important as the change itself. Resistance to change is more often than not connected to how the proposed change makes an individual feel. Wherever possible, take time to help the individual to adapt. Give them reassurance that their personal journey through the change is important and that you will support them along the way with a clear timeline of the change.
Street Pastors are trained volunteers from local churches who patrol their communities on a Friday and Saturday night, to care for, listen to and help people who are out on the streets.
Listening is a huge part of helping those more reluctant to feel like they have had an opportunity to really explain their concerns, and then know they have been heard and that their perspective will be taken on board. I do think there does need to be clear leadership, though, which says “not everyone will agree with this change, or the speed of change, but we feel, after prayerful consideration, that this is the right path to take for now”.
Again review points are helpful so that those who are sceptical of the change can see there will be a point a few weeks or months down the line where everything will be looked at and if it hasn’t worked, it can revert back.
5. Let people go
For me, some of this is about understanding people’s motivations, what makes them tick, what drives them and how they process information. I try to keep in mind those people who need space to reflect, those who like papers to read and those who need to process information verbally. Relating change to a person’s overall goals and motivations can be effective.
Sometimes change provides the opportunity to review whether people are still aligned to the overall agenda-not everyone agrees with change all of the time. It’s important that people have a safe space to express this, to decide whether they’d like to go in a different direction or to remain involved in the work. It’s not always right for people to stay with an organisation or project forever and helping people to think through how they’d like to use their gifts is always important.
6. Act in love and kindness
Counties UK is learning how to lead with confidence the stages of change and raise up others with the same confidence, based on our reading of Nehemiah. We’ve recognised that all too easily we feel neglected – ‘This is too hard’ Neh 5:2; Overlooked – ‘The price is too high’ Neh 5:3; and Mistreated – ‘This is not fair’ Neh 5:5a.
Our biggest learning in making change is to act in love and kindness so that we can be together in blessing our local communities as an expression of the Father’s heart of love. We are blessed to be a blessing!
Counties Neighbourhood Chaplains Support Team